"Russian border guards detained Ukrainian YMK 0041 vessel with five crew members including the captain onboard in the Black Sea on May 4, 2018. On May 10, 2018 citizens of Ukraine Hennadii Otychko, born Nov. 10, 1976, Ruslan Skrypnyk, born Oct. 04, 1988, Serhii Kalynychenko, born June 1, 1967, and Oleh Blok, born March 16, 1965 were interviewed as witnesses," he wrote.
Smedlyaev noted that he was contacted by the wives of the fishermen on May 26, 2018, who "were in despair and did not know what to do and whom to turn to."
"On June 1, 2018, I and my colleague, lawyer Emil Kurbedinov, visited Balaklava-based Border Guard Directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) where we tried to meet with the fishermen and find out their condition since they had already spent about a month in "captivity" by that time. However, we got no visit permit. After that we filed relevant complaints to the hotlines of the FSB, the Border Guard Directorate in charge of Crimea, and the Military Prosecutor's Office. We also filed direct complaint to the Sevastopol garrison court, another one to the Military Prosecutor's Office and submitted statement about commission of a crime to the Investigative Committee. The complaints and statements have never been responded to," the lawyer said.
According to him, they found out that vessel’s captain Novitskyi was charged with poach under part 3 of article 256 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and remanded into pretrial custody.
"The mother of one of the fishermen said they [the fishermen] refuse to eat and are in despair because of uncertainty. Lawyers Ayder Azamatov and Mammet Mambetov have joined team of defenders. We continue taking efforts to release Ukrainian fishermen from captivity," Smedlyaev added.
Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service earlier said that the Russian invaders have been checking Ukrainian vessels and their crew members on the daily basis since April 30.