Russia Moves Captured Ukrainian Vessels to Black Sea
Ukrainian tugboats pulling the vessels have already made their way to the waters off the Crimean coast
Russia began moving Ukrainian vessels ‘Berdyansk’ and ‘Nikopol’, and the ‘Yany Kapu’ tugboat from the Genmola water area in Russian-occupied Kerch before possible handover to Ukraine.
According to the international ship tracking resources, Ukrainian tugboats Sapfir, Tytan, Haydamaka have already made their way to the waters off the Crimean coast, in which the the handover is expected to take place on Monday. Experts estimate it will to take them around 2 days to return back to Odesa.
In November 2018, Russian forces launched an attack on the Ukrainian vessels. Three Ukrainian servicemen were wounded, the entire crew was captured and the ships were seized.
Russian Lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, said, “The ships started to be moved from the place where they were located for almost a year, in Kerch. Therefore, I believe that Russia will provide the International Tribunal with a report, where it will state that it has fulfilled the order – returned the ships and the sailors.”
In late May this year, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled that Russia must release the prisoners of war and return the ships to Ukraine. Initially Moscow refused to recognize the courts jurisdiction and ignored the ruling.
The 24 Ukrainian sailors were released in early September as part of a larger prisoner exchange between the two countries, which involved 35 captives on each side.
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