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Ukrainian sailors injured during arrest in Kerch Strait fully recover, ombudsperson says

Three Ukrainian navy sailors, who suffered injuries during their apprehension in the Kerch Strait, have fully recovered

MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. Three Ukrainian navy sailors, who suffered injuries during their apprehension in the Kerch Strait, have fully recovered, Moscow Human Rights Ombudsperson Tatyana Potyayeva told reporters on Tuesday. 

“All three have fully recovered. They are well and look good,” she said. 

The ombudsperson pointed out that the sailor who suffered injuries to his legs, which were the most serious, had gotten off his crutches and was ready to be discharged. In addition, the sailor who sustained injuries to his arms has had his stitches taken out. “Doctors say, and he agrees, that he may be discharged as soon as he finishes his course of physical therapy,” Potyayeva added. 

She noted that the third sailor had had a plaster cast removed from his arm and was now receiving recovery treatment. “The three of them are sure they have been provided with all necessary medical assistance at the pre-trial detention center,” the ombudsperson stressed. 

Potyayeva pointed out that the sailors had no complaints about their internment condition, meals, walks outside and relations with fellow detainees and center employees. 

Kerch Strait incident

On November 25, 2018, three Ukrainian navy ships violated the rules of passage from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. The intruding Ukrainian vessels illegally crossed the Russian state border, trespassed into Russian territorial waters and conducted dangerous maneuvers. In defiance of repeated warnings and demands to halt by the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet, the Ukrainian ships carried on violating the law, which drove the Russian forces to use gunfire in order to compel them to stop. As a result, all three ships were detained. 

A criminal investigation was opened into the border incident. The crewmembers of the vessel - 24 Ukrainian nationals - were arrested. 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.