MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. The captain of Ukraine’s Nikopol artillery vessel, Bogdan Nebylitsa, arrested for violating the Russian border in the Kerch Strait along with 23 other Ukrainian sailors, has declared himself a prisoner of war, lawyer Nikolai Polozov wrote on Facebook
"The Ukrainian sailors’ defense attorney Emil Kuberdinov has visited Captain Bogdan Nebylitsa [in the pre-trial detention center]," he said. According to Polozov, Nebylitsa was interrogated and informed about some investigative examinations that were to be carried out. "During the interrogation, Bogdan Nebylitsa declared himself a prisoner of war," the lawyer added.
According to earlier reports, lawyers have so far visited eight out of 24 Ukrainian military servicemen arrested in Russia: Vyacheslav Zinchenko, Roman Mokryak, Andrei Artyomenko, Andrei Eider, Denis Gritsenko, Oleg Melnichuk, Andrei Oprysko and Vasily Soroka (an officer of the Ukrainian Security Service). All of them consider themselves to be prisoners of war and refuse to testify.
Kerch Strait incident
On November 25, three Ukrainian navy ships illegally crossed Russia’s border and tried to carry out some illegal actions in Russian territorial waters later in the day. They ignored legitimate demands to stop issued by vessels belonging to the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet and continued maneuvering dangerously. In order to stop the Ukrainian ships, weapons had to be used. The three vessels were detained in Russian territorial waters. A criminal investigation was opened into the border incident. The Ukrainian ships’ crew members, 24 Ukrainian nationals, have been arrested until January 25, 2019. They are charged with violating the Russian border under Article 322.3 of the Russian Criminal Code. If found guilty, they may face up to six years in prison.
Moscow branded Kiev's stunt in the Kerch Strait as a dangerous provocation, while the European Union and NATO called for a de-escalation of tensions, while Kiev declared a 30-day martial law.