Russian rights ombudsman asks Ukrainian counterpart to help free captured soldiers

2014 2014-08-28T13:23:49+0300 2014-08-28T13:23:49+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Detained Russian paratroopers at a press conference in Kyiv

Detained Russian paratroopers at a press conference in Kyiv

Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the Russian presidential Human Rights Council, has appealed to Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner Valeria Lutkovkska to help free Russian military servicemen captured near Donetsk.

The Russian paratroopers were arrested on August 24. They were accused of illegally crossing the border and illegal weapons possession. At a press conference in Kyiv on August 27, the detained Russian soldiers said they had no intention of crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border. In earlier interrogations they said they did not know where they were going and realized that there were in Ukraine only when they saw a tank with a Ukrainian flag.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the situation with the detention of Russian soldiers was a coincidence. According to the Ministry, several servicemen crossed the border by chance when patrolling the area.

Relatives of the detained paratroopers created a headquarters, which began to negotiate with the Russian and Ukrainian authorities to release the soldiers, according to RBC. At a meeting with the families in Kostroma on Tuesday, the commanders of the 98th Airborne Division confirmed the information about the losses of personnel after an “accidental engagement” with the Ukrainian army, the agency reports.

Human rights activists keep receiving calls from the soldiers’ parents, whose sons were not available on their mobile phones. They fear that their children were transferred to the Rostov region to be sent to Ukraine. According to RBC, a member of the Presidential Council on Human Rights Sergey Krivenko says that there are similar reports from the Krasnodar region, Dagestan, Astrakhan and St. Petersburg. Human rights activists have started compiling lists of supposedly dead and missing soldiers.