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Ukraine’s Naval Commander offers to exchange him for detained Ukrainian sailors

Igor Voronchenko urged the NATO to increase its presence in the Black Sea
10:17, 6 December 2018

Igor Voronchenko, the Commander of the Ukrainian Navy
Radio Liberty

Igor Voronchenko, Ukraine’s Naval Commander, offered to exchange him for detained 24 Ukrainian sailors who were detained in the Kerch Strait, DW reported.

'It breaks my heart when I see my soldiers illegally kept in Russia,' Voronchenko said.

Related: Ukrainian Navy commander addresses sailors in occupied Crimea

According to him, he is ready to go to the Russian prison, if Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, releases the arrested sailors.

At the same time, Voronchenko said NATO military vessels could not help Ukraine in the Azov Sea. “There is an agreement dating back to 2003, upon which all military vessels require the permission from both Ukraine and Russia to enter Azov Sea. It means that even if Ukraine wants it, Russia would not let it happen”, he said.

Related: Captured Ukrainian sailors give false testimony, - Ukraine's Navy Commander

As we reported earlier, the coast guard ships of the Russian Navy acted aggressively against the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov.   

‘Today, November 25, the ships of the Ukrainian Navy with two armored gunboats and a sea mule tugboat have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov. The intention to make the transition was informed in advance in accordance with international standards in order to ensure the safety of navigation. However, contrary to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, the Russian coast guard ships - Sobol class patrol boat, Don border guard cruiser, Mangust class patrol boat and Suzdalets anti-submarine warfare ship performed blatantly aggressive acts against the ships of the Ukrainian Navy,’ reads the message. 

Related: POW status implies 'special' model for releasing Ukrainian seamen, - Ombudsman

It is specified that Don border guard cruiser rammed the Ukrainian armored artillery boat, which led to the damage of the main engine, planting and accommodation rail, life float is lost. The Ukrainian Navy states that "the dispatcher service of the occupiers refuses to ensure the right of freedom of navigation, guaranteed by international agreements. 

The Ukrainian Navy states that "the dispatcher service of the occupiers refuses to ensure the right of freedom of navigation, guaranteed by international agreements." Thus, according to the Ukrainian side, Russia has once again demonstrated its aggressive nature and complete disregard for the norms of international law. 

Related: 24 Ukrainian POWs moved from Crimea as European Court of Human Rights demands answers from Russia

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