Investigation period in case of Ukrainian sailors captured near Kerch Strait extended

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MOSCOW – The period of the pre-trial investigation against the Ukrainian sailors, captured following the incident near the Kerch Strait on Nov. 25, has been extended until the end of spring, Nikolai Polozov, the lawyer of one of the defendants, told Interfax.

“At present, the investigation period has been extended until May 25, and at the same time, investigators have requested that the arrest be extended until late April,” the lawyer said on Jan. 12.

Further extensions of the investigation period will depend on the intensity of investigative measures, Polozov said, replying to a follow-up question.

“I have no idea how long the investigation would take, it depends on the extent of investigative actions and investigators do not disclose their plans to us,” he said.

On Nov. 25, the Russian border guards used weapons to attack three Ukrainian naval vessels – the Yany Kapu tug and the Berdyansk and the Nikopol armored gunboats – on their way from Odesa to Mariupol near the Kerch Strait. The crews were detained, then arrested by courts in Crimea, and transported to Moscow to be put in pre-trial prisons. All the 24 crew members declared themselves to be prisoners of war.

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