The current authorities at the state level should deal with the release of sailors who, by the will of fate, were captured in Libya and other countries. Today, 260 Ukrainian sailors are illegally detained in prisons around the world. Vadym Novynskyi, MP, member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Human Rights, Deoccupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of the Donbas informed about it after a meeting with the families of sailors, crew members of the “Captain Khayyam” and “RUTA” vessels, which have been kept in prisons of Libya in 2016-2017.
The meeting with Vadym Novynskyi was attended by Tetiana Umanets, Yulia Kirilchuk and Tetiana Alferova, the relatives of the crew of the “Ruta” tanker, Yulia Omelchenko, the mother of Yevhen Morar, crew member of the “Captain Khayyam” tanker, and Svitlana Fabrykant, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the charitable organization “Assol” Fund for Assistance to Sailors and Migrant Workers. Relatives of the captives signed an appeal to the MP, asking for help to release the Ukrainian sailors.
According to the politician, the state is obliged to defend the rights of its citizens who are in trouble outside Ukraine.
“The situation with the Ukrainian sailors who were captured in Libya is really egregious. 18 citizens of Ukraine are actually abandoned in a warring country, kept in prisons under inhuman conditions, with no prospect of returning home, their homeland, relatives. Some of the sailors who were captured from the “Captain Khayyam” vessel spent almost 4 years in captivity. The crew of the “Ruta” tanker – 14 of our sailors at once – which was flying under the Ukrainian flags, has been in a Libyan prison for more than 2.5 years. In Ukraine, the authorities have been changed, but the problem has not been addressed. We agreed with the relatives of our sailors for the joint fight for their return home,” Vadym Novynskyi emphasized.
According to the testimony of the relatives of the sailors, the years in prison have not passed without a trace for the health of the captives – they all need quality medical care.
“This has been going on for over 2.5 years. Naturally, all families are in terrible condition. There is no medical assistance; people are in the war zone: the war is going on at a distance of 17 kilometers. We know that another prison was recently disbanded, and the people in it were sent to war! We do not know what awaits us; we do not see steps by the government. Even if some work has begun, we are not informed about this. Therefore, we can’t wait any longer,” Tetiana Umanets, daughter of the captain of the “Ruta” tanker, said.
For 18 years, 18 citizens of Ukraine have been forcibly held in Libyan prisons – they are crew members of the “Captain Khayyam” and “Ruta” vessels. Four Ukrainian sailors from the “Captain Khayyam” vessel, flying on the flags of Sierra Leone, were detained in Libya in February 2016. Another 14 Ukrainians, crew members of the “RUTA vessel”, flying under the flags of Ukraine, were arrested in Libya and have been forcibly kept in prison since April 2017.
For several years, relatives of the sailors have been fighting for their release from captivity. They appealed to representatives of the Ukrainian authorities, but they were not answered. Now the relatives of the captives intend to picket the Presidential Office.