There will be no meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin while Russia still holds Ukrainian ships and sailors seized near Crimea, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday, Reuters reported.
“I don’t see circumstances in the foreseeable future where such a meeting could take place until the ships and the crews are released,” Bolton told reporters at a Washington think tank.
As is known, in late November, the Russian Navy attacked the Ukrainian sailors. Three Ukrainian ships were on their way from Odesa to Mariupol to join the newly created Ukrainian naval base in the Sea of Azov. Russian naval vessels and aviation opened fire and wounded three Ukrainian servicemen. The ships and their crews were captured. Currently, 24 Ukrainian sailors face charges with the ‘illegal border crossing’, as they stay in detention centers in Moscow.
Ukraine has said Russia captured the two small gunboats and one tugboat illegally and accused Moscow of military aggression.
Two Ukrainian navy captains being held in a Russian jail have refused to provide testimony because they consider themselves prisoners of war, their lawyers said.