In the result of further armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Azov Sea area, Ukrainian servicemen were illegally detained, three of them were wounded.

Such actions of Russia is a major violation of the international law and human rights principles.

In view of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Russia as a signatory to the Convention, having opened the fire on Ukraine’s navy ships endangered the lives and well-being of the Ukrainian servicemen, violated their rights to freedom and personal security, having illegally deprived them of freedom.

At the moment, there is no trustworthy information either about the place of their stay or of the health condition of all Ukrainian Navy men. Russia shall provide relevant accurate information to Ukraine and relatives of the detained servicemen and ensure their immediate return to Ukraine.

Criminal persecution of the detained servicemen by the Russian Federation is a major violation of the provisions of the international humanitarian law. Detained citizens of Ukraine have the status of war prisoners and have all the rights guaranteed by the provisions of the Third Geneva Convention, relative to the treatment of prisoners of war.

In that context we call on Ukrainian authorities to make every effort for ensuring immediate return of the detained Ukrainian servicemen, including using international human rights protection institutions, we address the international community and call on them to strengthen the international pressure on the Russian Federation because of further criminal wrongdoings committed by the aggressor state against Ukraine.

Oleksandr Pavlichenko, executive director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

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