Health of Ukrainian POWs satisfactory, no complaints about prison conditions – Ukraine's foreign ministry
The health of Ukrainian sailors who are prisoners of war (POW) held in Russia is satisfactory, Serhiy Pohoreltsev, Directorate General for Consular Service of Ukraine's Foreign Ministry, has said.
"The sailors' health is satisfactory. They did not complain about conditions of detention and application of prohibited measures to them, including physical pressure measures," he told journalists in Kyiv on Thursday.
Pohoreltsev said the sailors were provided with warm clothes and shoes and given food packages and cash.
He said consuls managed to visit the POWs and further visits are planned. On February 1 and February 4, visits were made to three wounded sailors, and on January 14 and January 16-17 and on February 7-8, and February 11 with the rest of the sailors.
"I am sure that the sailors will return home. There is no doubt about that, but everything must be done so that it can be happen as soon as possible," Pohoreltsev said.
As earlier reported, on November 25, 2018, Russian border guards used weapons to stop three Ukrainian naval vessels, the Yany Kapu tug and the Berdiansk and the Nikopol armored gunboats, which were traveling from Odesa to Mariupol in the Kerch Strait. The vessels were escorted to Kerch. Three sailors were injured.
The vessels were convoyed to Kerch, and 24 Ukrainians who were on them were arrested and accused of "illegally crossing the border" and charged with "conspiracy by a group of persons or an organized group to illegally cross the border using violence or the threat to use violence." If found guilty, they could face up to six years in prison.
In late November, the Ukrainians were transferred to Moscow. The court extended all the Ukrainians' arrests until April 24.
Kyiv calls the detained sailors prisoners of war and has demanded their release.