A Ukrainian sailor, right, is escorted by a Russian intelligence officer to a court room in Simferopol, Crimea, Nov. 27, 2018.
A Ukrainian sailor, right, is escorted by a Russian intelligence officer to a court room in Simferopol, Crimea, Nov. 27, 2018.

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 Ukrainian sailor, right, is escorted by a Russian intelligence officer to a court room in Simferopol, Crimea, Nov. 27, 2018.
Germany, France Press Russia to Free Ukrainian Sailors
The leaders of Germany and France are pressing Russia to release Ukrainian sailors captured over a month ago in time for the new year and Orthodox Christmas. In a joint statement Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron also vowed to keep up pressure to implement a 2015 peace deal for eastern Ukraine. The long-simmering conflict between Russia and Ukraine that started with Russia's annexation of Crimea escalated November 25 when the Russian coast guard fired upon…

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.