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War Prisoners on Trial: Russia’s Detention of Ukrainian Sailors After the Kerch Incident
23 February, 2019

Ukraine has been facing off against Russian aggression now for five years – with the annexation of Crimea, on the frontlines in the country's occupied eastern regions and even in the information space. But the most significant escalation of recent times was November 25 maritime attack near the Kerch Strait, in which Russian border guard ships used force against Ukrainian navy vessels in order to stop them passing through the Kerch Strait. As a result, 24 Ukrainian navy officers were captured and charged with “illegal border crossing.”  

READ MORE: Kerch Prisoners: What we Know About the Captured Ukrainians

That evening, the whole country went on high alert in anticipation of further provocations – so much so that, after an emergency war cabinet meeting and a parliamentary vote, President Petro Poroshenko declared martial law in 10 at-risk regions of Ukraine for a period of 30 days.

Although martial law has been over for a couple of months now, the 24 sailors remain prisoners of war. And Russia is not playing fair. The trials against the Ukrainian navy officers are ongoing and, so far, their appeals have been rejected by a Moscow court. According to the lawyers, the court is refusing to acknowledge the January 24 PACE resolution on the matter, which calls for the sailors to be treated in accordance with the Geneva convention. There have even been reports of the use of psychological pressure against the prisoners.

READ MORE: Only Russian Language Allowed Here: How Moscow Tried Ukrainian Sailors

On this week’s Sunday Show we speak to a whole range of experts to find out what’s happening with the 24 prisoners of war and what, if anything, could be done to help them. We’ll be joined by volunteer Victoria Ivleva, journalist Osman Pashayev, director of the Supreme Council for the Support of Prisoners of War Leyla Omer, member of the Association of Veterans of the Ukrainian Navy Serhii Shumskiy, lawyer Nikolai Polozov, lawyer Ilya Novikov and human rights defender Bohdan Kryklyvenko.