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Navy Vessel Crew's Plea to Ukrainian Government

By Ukrainska Pravda

The crew of the minesweeper Cherkassy, moored in occupied waters at the Novoozernoe naval base in Lake Donuzlav [inlet in eastern Crimea] have called on the Ukrainian authorities to make a definitive decision on what they should do next.

The crew has sent an appeal to Ukraine’s acting president, the prime minister, the defence minister, and the chief of the armed forces general staff.

“We are asking you to take a specific decision on what we should do next, given that most of the crew do not know what awaits them or their families in the near future; and to take resolute action to resolve the situation which has developed,” the appeal says.

The sailors ask for “direction on what actions should be taken by servicemen whose parents are on Ukrainian territory but whose wives and children are in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea – and vice versa – as well as clarification on the future of servicemen and dependents who are resident in Crimea.

“We ask you to urgently approve an evacuation plan for the families of servicemen at military bases in Crimea that are now occupied by Russian troops, and to inform us of this by any possible means.”

The sailors also express concern about reports that personnel serving under contract who have left military bases in Crimea and travelled to Ukrainian territory are facing criminal prosecution for “failure to complete a term of service”.

“Among the options for further action by us, there is not one that would suit Ukrainian servicemen. The enemy is asking us to surrender and take out Russian citizenship, or else to leave Crimean territory and never return,” the appeal says. “We cannot afford to wait, as we are constantly receiving threats that our vessel is to be stormed, and also that we will be prosecuted.

“Our fuel and freshwater reserves diminish by the day, and we cannot sail out of Donuzlav into open waters because the exit is blocked by scuttled vessels [deliberately sunk by Russian forces]. We therefore ask you to review this appeal as quickly as possible and take appropriate decisions with all speed.

"All crew members remain loyal to their oath and to the Ukrainian people, and are relying on speedy and appropriate decisions from you,” the statement says

This article republished from Ukrainska Pravda with kind permission.

Original article in Ukrainian/Russian.

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