Art in Support of Captured Ukrainian Sailors
24 paintings in support of prisoners of war were exhibited in the Ukrainian parliament. This event was initiated by the relatives of the youngest captured sailor, Andrei Eider. Different artists were given the opportunity to draw their own version of the painting by Beata Kurkul. She painted it the day after Russia's attack on Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait
“They are waking in the open. Walking straight. The lights are lit. They do not hide from anyone. With flags,” the father of Andriy Eider, Dmytro Eider said.
The father of Ukrainian sailor POW Andriy Eider is showing a painting by Beata Kurkul. She painted it after Russian forces attacked Ukrainian vessels near the Kerch Strait. The family of Eider asked her to paint 23 more copies for each sailor. Today the paintings are on display in the Ukrainian parliament.
“These paintings are dark and disturbing. They completely show our state in those moments. We did not know where our boys were and whether they were injured. The information about Andriy appeared on the third or fourth day. We did not know if he had surgery or not. It was terrifying,” Stepmother of Andriy Eider, Evhenia Eider said.
Several paintings were sold by the painters at an auction. It was held on a Facebook page titled “Coming Home.” The money that was collected will be transferred to help prisoners of war. Another initiative is to send letters to Ukrainian sailors to the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center.
“To forget is worse than betrayal. Our main goal is to remind everyone that this issue exists. That there are not only our men, but a lot of people incarcerated for nothing,” Dmytro Eider said.
Russia is showing no willingness to free Ukrainian political prisoners or prisoners of war. This was stated by Iryna Herashchenko, First Vice Speaker of the Parliament. She does not exclude that there will be any concessions from Putin until elections in Russia.
“Last week the EU, USA and Canada introduced new targeted sanctions. Frankly speaking, we do not consider the EU sanctions adequate, since they are too soft and only target Putin’s minions. The ones that have to pay the price have to be Putin and his inner circle,” Iryna Herashchenko said.
24 Ukrainian sailors have been held captive in Russia for more than four months. They were part of the crews of three warships captured by Russian security forces on November 25th, in neutral waters near the Kerch Strait.
The Russia-controlled court in Crimea detained the crews for two months – allegedly for illegally crossing the border. All the sailors said they consider themselves prisoners of war. They are being held in Moscow detention centers. In January, a court in Moscow kept the Ukrainians in custody until the end of April.