The relatives of the Ukrainian naval officers taken prisoner by Russia on November 25 in the Black Sea anxiously await the return of their loved ones. Midshipman Yuriy Budzylo is one of the 24 crew members who were illegally arrested and are currently imprisoned in Russia and annexed Crimea.
Budzylo was onboard the tugboat Yany Kapu, conducting a routine trip, when the vessel was attacked and then captured by the Russian navy. The entire crew of the tugboat, together with the crew of two small armored artillery boats, the Nikopol and Berdyansk, were taken prisoner. The men have been accused of an illegal border crossing by a group of people.
“He loves his country very much, he is a patriot, and he said he will not leave the army until this incomprehensible battle between our peoples is over,” Budzylo’s wife Iryna told Hromadske. “He wanted to wait until the war is over to retire.”
Budzylo’s lawyer has filed an appeal over his client’s illegal arrest. However, until the appeal is reviewed, the Ukrainian naval officer is being held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison. Hromadske traveled to Ukraine’s Odesa region, where Budzylo grew up and now lives with his wife and two children, to speak to his family.