European Union calls on Russia to release illegally held Ukrainians

The European Union called on Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors captured in the Kerch Strait and other Ukrainian citizens, that Brussels says, are also held illegally, DW reports.

“The European Union reiterates that all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in the Crimean peninsula and in Russia and the crew of the vessels captured by Russia on 25 November must be immediately released. International human rights observers must be granted full, free and unhindered access to the Crimean peninsula,” says the statement by the European External Action Service (EEAS) published on their website on Thursday, January 10th.

In a statement, the EEAS named, in particular, twenty-year-old Pavlo Hryb who was detained in Belarus in August 2017, because, according to investigators, he was convincing 17-year-old Tatyana Ershova from Sochi on social networks to lay an improvised explosive device at school. Brussels urges the “immediate” release of the young man and demanded that he is given access to Ukrainian doctors to provide necessary medical care, as previously requested by the European Court of Human Rights.

The EU also calls for the “immediate” release of the Crimean Tatar activist Edem Bekirov who is accused by Russia of storing and transferring explosives and ammunition. He was detained by Russian authorities in December 2018 while entering the annexed Crimea, where he planned on visiting relatives. Brussels expects that Bekirov will also be provided the medical care he needs.

The European Union reminds that it does not recognize the annexation of the Crimea and Sevastopol and demands to ensure access to their territory for independent human rights defenders. Earlier it was reported that next week the Lefortovo District Court of Moscow would extend the detention of Ukrainian sailors. The court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15th.

  EU, Ukraine, Russia, Crimea, Moscow