The offer of Russia to the Ukrainian side concerned not only the release of the sailors captured in Kerch Strait but also the vessels as TASS reported citing Spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova.
Answering the question of how the release of the sailors had to look like and how Russia planned to pass the vessels to the Ukrainian side, Zakharova said:
“It was the offer to engage the procedures present in the Russian legislation, which are spelled out in details. Ukraine refused not only from this offer; it refused to discuss this issue at all,” Zakharova stated.
“That is the paradox, they could begin to work and diplomats and legal experts, lawyers. They could and they had to find proper formulations,” she added.
Besides, Zakharova states that the refusal of Ukraine to discuss with Russia the conditions of the release of the sailors captured in Kerch Strait shows that Kyiv uses them for blackmail and accusation of Moscow.
“The response of Ukraine shocked, I thought that Kyiv regime has nothing to surprise me. But, it turned out, we do not know Klimkin well, who stated: “Ukraine does not intend to accept the offer of Russia on the Ukrainian sailors captured in Kerch Strait, which was in the Russian Foreign Ministry’s note received by Kyiv. In other words, the Ukrainian sailors are needed by Kyiv only Russia! As another tool of blackmail and argument of the accusation of Moscow of all their troubles,” the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.
According to the diplomat, Russia offered Ukraine to release the sailors after the provision of the written guarantee that they will participate in the preliminary trial investigation.
“I want to emphasize once more. The Ukrainian side refused not only from the involvement of the release procedures present in the Russian legislation but from the discussion of this issue generally. Kyiv does not need the sailors; Kyiv needs fuss about the sailors. Exactly for it, they were sent to Kerch Strait in November 2018,” the Russian diplomat stated.
Earlier Volodymyr Zelensky was distraught that he got to know about the response of Foreign Ministry to Russia’s note from the internet but not from the ministry. Now the President of Ukraine demands public explanation of the ministry.
On May 25, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea obliged Russia to immediately release 24 Ukrainian sailors and three vessels, which were captured in Kerch Strait, November 2018 and provide their return to Ukraine.
We recall, on November 25, 2018, Russian border guards seized the Ukrainian Yana Kapu raid tug and small armored artillery boats Berdyansk and Nikopol of the Naval Forces of Ukraine in the Kerch Strait area, using weapons.
As a result of the incident, 24 Ukrainian sailors were detained and arrested. They were transported from Crimea to the Moscow Lefortovo detention facility. In addition, three Ukrainian sailors wounded during the shelling by the Russians were transferred to the Prison Hospital.