Poroshenko at UNGA: Ukrainians urge Guterres to put pressure on Moscow for release of Ukrainian sailors
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that the Ukrainian sailors captured by Russian security forces near the Kerch Strait in November 2018 and illegally kept in the Moscow detention centers are prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention and called Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres on behalf of Ukrainians to exert pressure on Moscow for their release.
"Last November the Russian naval forces committed a direct, brutal and unprovoked attack on Ukrainian warships in the international waters of the Black Sea. Russia's actions fall exactly under the definition of aggression according to UN General Assembly Resolution of 1974. As a result, the vessels were damaged and seized, 24 crew members, including three wounded, were captured and are now in illegal detention in Russia. I want to stress that they are not criminals; they must be treated as prisoners of war under Geneva Conventions," Poroshenko said at a UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City on February 20.
The Ukrainian president recalled that the Russian authorities ignore the numerous appeals of the international community for the immediate release of the illegally detained Ukrainian sailors.
"Today I brought with myself an appeal to the Secretary General to press on Moscow to release the Ukrainian crewmembers. It was signed by thousands of Ukrainians over the last few days. And I speak on behalf of all of them. We sincerely count on your support," he added.