Russian pilots and flight crew fall victim to Crimea crisis

2014-03-26 15:47
The Russian flag waves in front of the Ukrainian military ship the Slavutich moored in the bay of Sevastopol. (Viktor Drachev, AFP)

The Russian flag waves in front of the Ukrainian military ship the Slavutich moored in the bay of Sevastopol. (Viktor Drachev, AFP)

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Moscow - Russia has accused Ukraine on Wednesday of violating international conventions and putting lives at risk by preventing Russian pilots and crew disembarking after passenger flights to Kiev.

Citing information from Russian carrier Aeroflot, the Foreign Ministry said Ukrainian border officials were not allowing crews to rest in compliance with flight safety regulations when they flew to the Ukrainian capital.

"Russia insists on an unconditional cessation of these irresponsible practices by Ukraine which endanger the safety of civil aviation flights," the ministry said in a statement.

Earlier this week, the ministry issued statements saying Russians had been targeted by Ukrainian nationalists in two robberies and accusing the Ukrainian authorities of being unable or unwilling to prevent the incidents.

Moscow has used reports that ethnic Russians in Ukraine are under threat from nationalists as part of its justification for annexing the Crimea region.

Russia has also reserved the right to use its armed forces to protect compatriots in Ukraine.

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