Crew of Nord seiner can return to Crimea through checkpoint - Prosecutor's Office of Autonomous Republic of Crimea
The crew of the Kerch seiner Nord can freely return home to Crimea, Deputy Prosecutor of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Ihor Ponochovny has said.
"These citizens of Ukraine are not held by anyone in mainland Ukraine. They can freely return home to the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea through a checkpoint, and they have been repeatedly informed about that. However, the attempt of employees of the consular institutions of the country-occupier to show them in the Russian media as victims does not give sailors the opportunity to go home," he wrote on his Facebook page.
Deputy Head of a Unit of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Yehor Rebrov, in turn, said that crewmembers of the Nord ship appear in the case against its captain, Volodymyr Horbenko, as witnesses, and law enforcement officers do not have any questions to them, so they can return to Crimea, but only with Ukrainian documents.
"The criminal proceedings against the Nord captain are at the stage of pretrial investigation, and this is due to the expertise. Nothing poses any threat to the crew, law enforcement agencies have no claims to them, they are witnesses. As citizens of Ukraine, they can safely return home on their passports. Why they do not do it is a question to them," Rebrov said in a commentary to the Crimea.Realities ezine published on Wednesday.
At the same time, he noted that he could not comment on the possibility of exchanging crew members.
"The captain is suspected of committing two criminal offenses - the violation of the order of entry and exit from the temporarily occupied territory (Article 332), as well as illegal fishing (Article 249 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). The first provides for up to five years of imprisonment, and the second envisages a fine. The exchange of the captain is not a matter of my competence. I personally believe that a citizen of Ukraine cannot be extradited to another state," Rebrov added.