The crew of a North Korean fishing boat faces up to 20 years in prison for attacking the Russian coastguard, according to the charge announced by Russia’s top investigative agency on Wednesday.
Four members of the Russian coastguard were wounded, one by gunfire, during the incident on Tuesday in the Sea of Japan, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.
The coastguard had intended to check the North Korean vessel for evidence of illegal fishing in Russian territorial waters, the statement said.
The Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case on a charge of “encroachment on the life of a law enforcement officer,” the statement said.
The crime is punishable by up to two decades in prison.
Earlier it was reported that three members of the Russian coastguard had been injured. Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned North Korea’s charge d’affaires over the incident the same day.
Russia and China, which share land borders with North Korea, have the relatively closest diplomatic relations with the extremely insular North Korean state.
Russia’s Federal Security Service, which oversees the coastguard, said in a statement on Tuesday that more than 80 North Korean nationals had been detained in a round-up of suspected poachers.
The fishing vessel involved in the attack on the Russian coastguard had a crew of more than 45 people, the Federal Security Service said.
(Edited by Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim)