Russia's FSB shifts blame for bad condition of three naval boats onto Ukraine

13:30, 21 November 2019
Politics
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REUTERS

Read alsoUkraine Navy chief: Russians turn boats seized near Kerch Strait into wreck

"If the Ukrainian side turned the vessels into a wreck with the sanitaryware being out of service while they were en route from the Crimean coasts to Ochakiv, this is a problem of the Ukrainian side itself," the FSB told the Russian media.

The FSB said it had returned the vessels to Ukraine "in good condition and with working equipment." In addition, the Russians reiterated Ukraine had signed handover documents and had no complaints.

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 transfer them under Ukrainian control.

On November 20, the naval boats arrived at the Ukrainian port of Ochakiv.

Ukrainian Navy Commander, Admiral Ihor Voronchenko said the Russians had dismantled some communications and navigation equipment from the seized ships.

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