Ukraine and Russia Discuss Transfer of Captured Vessels
Late on Saturday, Andriy Yermak, advisor to president Zelensky, stated that the return of the boats captured by Russia is "already in the final stages".
Ukraine and Russia started exchanging public messages regarding the return of the Ukrainian vessels “Berdiansk,” “Nikopol,” and “Yany Kapu.” Russian Foreign Ministry stated vessels are planned to be transferred before the meeting in the Normandy Four format, scheduled for December 9, 2019, BBC Ukraine reported.
The process has started getting momentum after the Russian outlet Kommersant on Nov. 15 citing its own sources reported that Moscow is willing to transfer ships to Ukraine, allegedly no later than the next week.
Later, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that “The proposition [to return vessels] was applicable from the very beginning. Ukraine could do it at any moment,” Russian media Interfax cited. However, according to Interfax, the Ministry laid down a condition — “against the security guarantee as pieces of evidence,” the agency cited.
According to Kommersant’s report, the transfer of ships should take place at sea, where at a certain point towed by Russian vessels from the occupied Crimean city of Kerch, they will be met by Ukrainian tugs.
According to the Ukrainian military portal mil.in.ua, the transfer may reportedly happen at night on Saturday, (Nov.16). Three Ukrainian tugs today offshored from the Odesa “Southern” port, moving in the same direction reportedly to meet transferred vessels, the outlet assumes, to probably meet the vessels.
“Berdiansk,” “Nikopol” armored boats and “Yany Kapu” tugboat were attacked and seized by Russin special forces on November 25, 2018.