Ukraine asks Russia where and when to pick up naval ships captured near Kerch Strait
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko has said Ukraine is ready to pick up its naval ships captured by the Russian Federation near the Kerch Strait last November and asks to inform about the place and time.
"I keep saying that we are ready to take these ships back, and on top of all, the Foreign Ministry has sent a note asking for coordinates and time to us to get our ships back," he said at a joint press conference with his Estonian counterpart Urmas Reinsalu in Kyiv on Monday, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
"As I said, when we get these ships, I would like to see whether they have any signs of shelling, or whether this delay is due to the fact that they are gradually being repaired and these holes from the shelling of our ships are disappearing. There is no delay on our part here. Our military are ready to arrive and pick up our ships from any place," Prystaiko added.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said on October 11 that "there is interaction" between Russia and Ukraine and the process of returning the ships captured by Russia is already "at the final stage."
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on May 25 ordered Russia to immediately release the three vessels and return them under Ukrainian control. Russia refused to comply with the order. It was reported on June 25 that the ships disappeared from the Genmol berth in the Russian occupied city of Kerch on the Crimean peninsula, where they had been for months.
UNIAN memo. On the morning of November 25, 2018, Russia blocked the passage to the Kerch Strait for the Ukrainian tugboat "Yany Kapu" and two armored naval boats "Berdyansk" and "Nikopol," which were on a scheduled re-deployment from the Black Sea port of Odesa to the Azov Sea port of Mariupol. All 24 crew members on board were captured and charged with "illegal border crossing" under Part 3 of Article 322 of the Criminal Code of Russia (imprisonment for up to six years). Later the Ukrainian sailors were freed and returned to Ukraine in a major prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia on September 7, 2019.