"Today, on November 18, the process of return of Ukrainian boats the Nikopol, the Berdyansk and the Yany Kapu tugboat has started in the Black Sea. Ukrainian tugboats the Titan, the Haydamaky and the Sapfir search and rescue ship along with the boats and the tugboat have started moving towards mainland Ukraine," the Ukrainian Navy posted on Facebook.
Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation announced the handover of three Ukrainian Navy ships captured in the Kerch Strait in November 2018 to Ukraine.
As reported, on November 25, 2018, Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian Navy ships, the Berdyansk, the Nikopol, and the Yany Kapu, heading from Odesa to Mariupol, near the Kerch Strait. In addition, their crewmembers, 24 Ukrainian sailors, were captured. Three of them were wounded. A Russian-controlled court in the occupied Crimea arrested the detained Ukrainian sailors on charges of alleged illegal border crossing.
On May 25, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release 24 seamen and three ships and allow them to return to Ukraine.
On September 7, Ukraine and Russia exchanged detainees in the 35-for-35 format. Twenty-four Ukrainian seamen returned home as part of the exchange.
On November 4, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine sent a note to Russia with a request to inform where and when Ukrainian troops could retrieve the ships seized in the Kerch Strait.
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