"At present, they are only approaching territorial waters. They will arrive in about 16 hours. They are being towed, the speed is very low. They do not move under their own power. Russians killed them. They removed even dome lights, sockets, and toilet bowls. We will now show everything to the whole world – Russians' barbaric attitude to this," Voronchenko said.
On November 25, 2018, in the Kerch Strait, Russian ships attacked the Berdiansk and Nikopol small armored artillery boats and the Yany Kapu tugboat during their transit from the port of Odesa to the port of Mariupol. During the aggressive actions of Russia, 24 Ukrainian sailors were captured, three of them wounded.
A Russian-controlled "court" in Russia-occupied Crimea arrested all detained Ukrainian seamen and charged them with allegedly crossing the Russian border (Part 3 of Article 322 of the Criminal Code of Russia, punishable by imprisonment for up to six years). All prisoners of war were brought from Crimea to Moscow-based detention centers Lefortovo and Matrosskaya Tishina. As of December 27, 2018, all sailors stated that they were prisoners of war.
On May 25, 2019, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) ordered Russia to immediately release all seamen and return the ships to Ukraine.
On September 7, Ukraine and Russia held a detainee exchange in the 35-for-35 format during 24 prisoners of war were freed.
On November 18, 2019, the process of returning Ukrainian ships began in the Black Sea. Their transfer took place in neutral waters.
On November 19, the Ukrainian Navy headquarters told Ukrinform that Ukrainian small armored artillery boats Berdiansk, Nikopol and the Yany Kapu tugboat would be examined upon return to their naval base.
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