Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his team is working around the clock to return Ukrainian sailors detained by Russia near the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018.
The president said this during his visit to the Ukrainian city of Odesa on Ukraine's Navy Day, July 7, which is currently hosting the annual Sea Breeze exercise.
"Here are the families of our captive sailors. I bow to you for your courage. I will not say much, I will just note that we work day and night to bring our sailors home. I do my utmost so that the promises of their return could turn into strong hugs with your guys," he said, as reported by an UNIAN correspondent on Sunday.
Zelensky also stressed that the Ukrainian Navy should be strong and modernly equipped. The country feels strong support by international partners in this regard now.
"Dear warrior, our common goal is the strong Ukrainian Navy, equipped with modern ships, weapons and hardware. On this path, we feel considerable support from our international friends and partners, who stand in the same line with you today," he said.
The president also mentioned his recent visit to Canada.
"We've agreed to strengthen our cooperation in the defense sphere. Already today, [Ukrainian] Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak [who accompanies the president on a working visit] will substantively discuss the specific steps of this cooperation," the head of state added.
Zelensky also addressed the sailors on the occasion of their professional holiday.
"Dear navy men! On behalf of all Ukrainian people, I sincerely thank you for your loyalty to the oath, courage, resistance and dedication," he said.