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Moscow courts extends arrest for Ukrainian seamen

January 15, 2019
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A Russian intelligence agency FSB officer, left, guards Ukrainian sailors in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. 24 Ukrainian seamen were captured and taken into Russia custody in November, after a Russian coast guard vessel fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval ships off the Russia-occupied Crimean peninsula. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow court has extended the detention of eight Ukrainian seamen who were among 24 captured by Russian coast guards in the Black Sea.

Three Ukrainian vessels and their crews were fired at and seized by the Russians in November. Russia insists the men should be put on trial for violating its border. Ukraine calls them prisoners of war who were illegally captured.

A Moscow district court on Tuesday ruled that eight of the 24 Ukrainian sailors, including the captain of one of the vessels, should be kept in custody until late April.

The confrontation on the Black Sea triggered a showdown between Russia and Ukraine in the simmering conflict over Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Russia seized Crimea in a move that Ukraine and most of the world views as illegal.

In the Ukrainian city of Odessa, about 50 demonstrators protesting the sailors’ detention gathered outside the Russian Consulate. Some tried to throw paint at the building. Police detained two demonstrators.

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