MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. The Ukrainian consul makes regular visits to Moscow’s Lefortovo pre-trial detention center to meet with Ukrainian naval sailors, who were charged with illegal crossing of the Russian border in the Kerch Strait, the executive secretary of Moscow’s Public Monitoring Commission told TASS on Wednesday.
"Recently, I have visited Vladimir Verimez, Sergei Chuliba, Andrei Eider and some other sailors. They did not complain about their conditions and they are regularly visited by the Ukrainian consul," Ivan Melnikov said.
According to Melnikov, he spoke in Russian with all the detainees.
"We did not have language barrier. Moreover, I had specially discussed the issue with the management of the detention center. The Ukrainians do not need an interpreter," he added.
Melnikov pointed out that the sailors’ cells have TVs with about 20 Russian channels and fridges.
"The detained Ukrainians are given three meals per day. They receive letters from their families and friends. Every day they go for an hour-long walk. Now, 21 sailors are held at Lefortovo and three more at a prison hospital of Matrosskaya Tishina [another pre-trial jail]," Melnikov recalled.
On November 25, three Ukrainian naval ships violated the rules of passage for warships via Russia’s territorial waters from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov. In defiance of Russian border guards’ lawful demands to halt, Ukrainian sailors went on moving, thus forcing the Russian border guards to open gunfire in order to compel them to stop. The ships were detained and towed to the city of Kerch. The 24 Ukrainian sailors were arrested on charges of the illegal crossing of the Russian border. They face up to six years in prison if convicted.