KIEV, August 29. /TASS/. Ukrainian courts have closed all administrative cases against crew members of Russia’s Nord fishing vessel, attorney Dmitry Shcherbina told TASS on Wednesday.

“We have won all cases, proving that there are no grounds for holding the crew members administratively liable,” the attorney said.

When asked if the crew members would now be able to leave Ukraine, Shcherbina answered in the affirmative. “They may leave, but we fear that the detention story will repeat itself,” he said, adding that Ukrainian border guards had twice prevented the crew members from leaving the country. “They explained their move saying that the sailors had presented Russian passports,” Shcherbina noted.

According to him, the defense was “searching for ways to help the sailors return to their families.” “We are working on it,” Shcherbina said without providing any details.

 

Nord vessel issue

 

On March 25, Ukraine’s State Border Service detained a fishing vessel flying the Russian flag in the Sea of Azov, whose crew includes ten Russian nationals.

The vessel’s captain was first charged under the Ukrainian Criminal Code’s article on “violating the entry and exit rules to Ukraine’s occupied territory” and may face up to five years in prison if found guilty, while the ship may be confiscated. On April 6, the Kherson City Court arrested Gorbenko until May 31 but set a bail of 35,200 hryvnias ($1,355), which was immediately granted.

The captain was later charged with illegal fishing and released on his own recognizance.

The crew members were prevented from leaving Ukraine with Russian passports as Kiev considers Crimean residents to be Ukrainian citizens. However, two of the sailors managed to leave Ukraine, while the others are currently staying on the Russian embassy premises in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.

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