"All 24 servicemen are ready to continue their service in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine... We are the servicemen of the Armed Forces and we are proud of this. If we are sent on a mission, I'm ready to fulfil this order now. And I'm one hundred percent sure that the rest are ready, too,” Denys Hrytsenko, the commander of the 1st Division of the Naval Command Raid Guard Ships said during a press conference at the Ukrinform news agency.
When asked why the sailors did not fire back during the capture, Hrytsenko replied: “We were sent to perform the task without the purpose of using weapons. It was a peaceful passage. It was an incident not planned by either country. And the decision had to be made there and then. I made that decision.”
According to Hrytsenko, the sea passage from the port of Odesa to Berdyansk was planned and sailors were warned about possible provocations on part of the Russian Federation.
As reported, the prisoner swap in 35-for-35 format took place between Ukraine and Russia on September 7. In particular, eleven citizens, who had been illegally convicted in Russia, as well as 24 sailors, who had been captured by Russia in the Kerch Strait area in November 2018, returned to Ukraine.
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