“We demand that the Russian side steadily adhere to the international and legal obligations and treaties which it is party to and immediately provide exhaustive information about the circumstances of the detention of the Ukrainian fishing vessel and its four crew members,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary published on its website.
During the meeting, the Russian side was “presented with the demand to immediately release the Ukrainian fishermen and fishing vessel and return all fishing equipment.”
On February 15, the press service for the FSB’s border guard branch for Crimea said that a small-size vessel with four Ukrainian citizens without any identification documents on board had been detained in the western part of the Sea of Azov.
“The captain of the ship failed to obey a border guard detachment’s legitimate demand to stop and tried to flee. Over 290 caught kalkan fish and an illegal fishing implement, a stake net, were detected during examination of the vessel. At the same time, the detainees did not have ship identification and registration documents, including a permit to fish aquatic biological resources,” the FSB press service said.
The Ukrainian State Border Guard Service said in comments to Interfax that it was determining the circumstances of the detention of the vessel. Ukrainian Border Guard Service chief Serhiy Deineko said that there had been no proof so far that the Ukrainian citizens detained on board the small-size ship by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in the Sea of Azov had been fishing illegally.
At the same time, he said that the Ukrainian fishermen had departed in violation of the current administrative regulations; thus the owner of the vessel may be fined.