KIEV, April 10. /TASS/. The crew members of Russia’s Nord fishing vessel have been questioned at the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) department in Kherson, a city in southern Ukraine, as part of the criminal case against the vessel’s captain, Vladimir Gorbenko, Tatiana Tikhonchik, a spokesperson for the so-called Crimean Prosecutor’s Office (part of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office), informed TASS on Tuesday.
"The crew members have already been questioned. They are not suspects, so they can move around freely," she said.
Tikhonchik noted that the crew members do not need to be questioned or appear in court again.
On March 25, the Ukrainian Border Guard Service detained a vessel flying the Russian flag with a crew of ten Russian citizens, the residents of the Crimean city of Kerch, in the Sea of Azov.
The fishing vessel’s captain is charged with "violating the procedure of entry to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and exit from it for the purpose of causing damage to the state’s interests," which envisages an imprisonment for a term of up to five years and also the confiscation of the ship.
On April 6, a court in Kherson, Ukraine, ruled to arrest the captain until May 31. However, he was not released on bail until April 10, although the payment had been made immediately.
Simultaneously, the Primorsky District Court of Mariupol in Ukraine imposed administrative fines on all members of the crew for the total sum of about $1,200. They were allowed to leave the vessel. However, on April 10, they were ordered to give testimony as part of the criminal case against the vessel’s captain.
The Ukrainian border guards did not let the crew members leave the country citing the lack of necessary documents as a pretext.