Russia's FSB terrorizing Ukrainian fishermen in Sea of Azov, using beatings to force confessions – SBU
Counterintelligence agents from Ukraine's SBU State Security Service have reported gross violations of international law by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) against citizens of Ukraine who legally fish in the Sea of Azov.
The SBU's press center on Friday said Russia's intelligence service illegally detains Ukrainian citizens and, through threats and blackmail, seeks false testimonies about allegedly illegal fishing.
In 2018, FSB's coast guard illegally detained two Ukrainians who were on a fishing boat in the Sea of Azov near Berdiansk, Zaporizhia region. Despite the lack of grounds for detention (during the inspection of the Ukrainian vessel no fishing equipment, fish or things prohibited for free circulation were found), Ukrainian citizens were forcibly taken to the city of Yeysk in Russia's Krasnodar region.
The men were subsequently interrogated illegally and urged to give false testimonies about using prohibited fishing equipment. The men were also threatened with incrimination of crimes with length prison terms.
"The FSB cynically did not hide its methods, saying it would re-search the vessel and find weapons, explosives, drugs, etc.," the SBU said.
Thus, due to the real threat of prolonged imprisonment, Ukrainian citizens were forced to give false testimonies. A criminal case was opened against them under Part 3 of Article 256 and Part 1 of Article 258-1 of the Russia's Criminal Code on illegal fishing. The Ukrainians imprisoned in different places in Russia. They were fined after their release. Their boat and other personal property were confiscated by the aggressor country.
The SBU said such activities of the Russian special services are violations of international law and are systemic in nature. They are accompanied by information campaigns in Russian media aimed at undermining the image of Ukraine before the international community, harming the ecological fauna of the Sea of Azov, the development and replenishment of its resources, contributes to its pollution and the like.