Swap of captured sailors being discussed with Ukraine – Russian Foreign Ministry

Swap of captured sailors being discussed with Ukraine – Russian Foreign Ministry

Russia is discussing with Ukraine the exchange of Ukrainian seamen detained in the Kerch Strait last November, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin has said.

"Of course, we are discussing [this issue]. We are thinking about it," Russian news agency Interfax quoted Karasin as saying on Monday, July 15.

On November 25, 2018, Russian security forces fired on and captured three Ukrainian Navy vessels that were en route from Odesa to Mariupol, as well as their crew, off the coast of Russian-occupied Crimea. Twenty-four Ukrainians were captured, three of them injured.

A Russian-controlled "court" in Russia-occupied Crimea arrested all detained Ukrainian servicemen for allegedly illegally crossing the border. They are currently held in a pretrial detention center in Moscow.

On May 25, 2019, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled that Russia must release the detainees by June 25 and return seized vessels to Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry, in turn, stated that the Kerch incident does not fall within the jurisdiction of the tribunal.


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