Russia files final charges against all 24 Ukrainian detained sailors

The Russian Investigative Committee of the Federal Security Service filed final charges against all 24 Ukrainian sailors who were detained in the Kerch Starit, reports the lawyer Nikolai Polozov.

"The final presentation of the charges means that the investigative actions related to the collection and procedural consolidation of evidence are completed. The next stage of the process for the detained to familiarize themselves with the materials of the criminal case," Polozov wrote on Facebook.

He noted that the last charge in the course of this investigative action was brought against the sailor Andriy Artemenko.

According to the lawyer, next week, the prosecutors are expected to appeal to the Lefortovo district court of Moscow with a request to extend the period of detention for all Ukrainian arrested prisoners of war. Preliminary date of court sessions on the extension of the detention is July 17.

On 25 November 2018, Russian border guards seized three Ukrainian ships in the neutral waters of the Black Sea. The crews of the two artillery boats and one tugboat (24 people) were taken to Simferopol, Crimea, where the Russia-controlled court placed all the Ukrainians under arrest. The following day, the sailors were relocated to Moscow, where they remain to this day.

On 25 May this year, the UN’s International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled that Russia must release all the Ukrainian sailors and return the three ships. Russia has said that it will not comply with the tribunal’s demands.

On the same day, a court in Moscow rejected the appeals of the Ukrainian prisoners of war, and ordered that they remain in custody until the end of July.

  Russia, Ukraine, Kerch Strait, Crimea, Moscow