Ukrainian Navy Vessels Return Home After Russian Captivity
President Volodymyr Zelensky says that Ukraine managed to return navy vessels seized by Russia without entering into any agreements and obligations. He was visiting the port of Ochakiv, where the vessels moored last night
All three of the Ukrainian naval vessels captured by the Russian Federation in Nov. 2018 have returned home to Ukrainian-controlled territory.
On Nov. 16, three Ukrainian ships left port to retrieve the vessels that had been seized by Russia in the Kerch Strait last year. On Wednesday (Nov. 20) they arrived in the port of Ochakiv in the Mykolayiv region.
The first to enter were the tugboat Tytan and the search and rescue ship Saphire, which towed the armored vessel Nikopol and the tugboat Yany Kapu. In the evening, the tugboat “Haydamaka” and the armored vessel “Berdyansk” moored in the port.
“There are no special agreements. I just called and asked to release our sailors and our vessels. I did not promise anything or sign anything. But, we are all sure that we are in the right in this situation, since our sailors had to return home,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Local residents and relatives of the sailors who went to retrieve the boats came to meet them in the port.
“When your illegally seized property is returned, I think it is a reason to celebrate. After all, our fleet could use a few more vessels,” said Yevheniia Lozovenko, a local resident.
The towing operation was complicated by the fact that the Russian military confiscated all the radio equipment, inflatable boats, fuel equipment and even household items such as light bulbs, stoves and power sockets from the seized vessels.
But, despite the damage and deplorable state of the vessels after the Russian seizure, the command of the Naval Forces of Ukraine promises to carry out repairs and return the vessels to service.