Berlin wants Russia to release Ukrainian sailors – German FM
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that he intends to discuss the need to release 24 Ukrainian sailors and officers of special services arrested by Russia after the incident in the Kerch Strait in the fall of 2018 at upcoming talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"I will tell Sergei Lavrov that we are expecting a constructive contribution from the Russian side. It also includes, among other moves, the release of the Ukrainian sailors," Maas said in an interview with Interfax.
Maas and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are expected to hold talks on the sidelines of the Petersburg Dialogue forum of the two countries' civil societies in the city of Koenigswinter, near Bonn, on Thursday.
On November 25, 2018, Russian border guards used weapons to stop in the Kerch Strait three Ukrainian naval vessels, the Yany Kapu tug and the Berdyansk and the Nikopol armored gunboats, on their way from Odesa to Mariupol. Twenty-four Ukrainians who were aboard the vessels were charged with illegally crossing the border by a group of people by previous consent or by an organized group with the use of violence or a threat of using violence. All of them are currently under arrest in Moscow.