The three Ukrainian vessels seized by the Russian Federation near the Kerch Strait in November 2018 and later returned to Ukraine are arriving at the port of Ochakiv.
The Nikopol boat has arrived first, the local online portal Dumskaya reported. She was towed by the Pereyaslav small-sized reconnaissance ship. Now, two high-speed Willard-type boats are towing the Nikopol ship to the pier.
The second returned boat, Berdyansk, and the Yany Kapu tugboat have not arrived yet.
Local residents have gathered to welcome the ships.
Students and teachers of the Ochakiv boarding school have posted a large Ukrainian flag on the shore.
The Nikopol boat
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to arrive in Ochakiv soon.
Meanwhile, users on social networks have started sharing a video with the arrival of the Yany Kapu tugboat in Ochakiv. It is being towed by the Lidovsky tugboat.
The Yany Kapu tugboat
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.
The ITLOS on May 25 ordered Russia to immediately release the three vessels and return them under Ukrainian control.