Novichkov noted that he felt well, both physically and mentally. He also stressed that he never had any conflicts with the Iranian citizen Novichkov was accused of murder.
“It is a peculiarity of their nation. Steps were taken without thinking, and they put someone’s life in danger, sometimes cost a fortune to us. A man who jumps overboard on the move into cold water without even thinking... I guess such people should not sail. He jumped out and I was accused for some reason. We never had any conflicts. I tell him what to do and he does it. It’s simple. Failure to do your duties is not a conflict. If you get a reprimand, you go home. Period,” he explained.
He also told about the hunger strike he announced on May 30.
“We were talking to the investigator. He said he did not have any claims and told me to go back to prison. No claims so something should be done. I saw a chance, a possibility, which could help me. And it did. For the first time, it pushed the trigger and I was released under personal responsibility of Zayachkovsky, the Consul, First Deputy Ambassador of Ukraine. I was released under his personal responsibility without bail. We skipped some procedures, they cooperated. The Foreign Ministry representatives were doing their best, they were carrying out negotiations. The issue of the improvement of the detention conditions was partially solved. Everyone was trying to help - Ukrainians who live there, in particular. Whoever had an opportunity provided help. No claims at all, I want to thank the citizens who live there and the Embassy. They helped me not only in prison, but also when I was released, till the last moment,” he noted.
Novichkov is to come back home to Odesa and meet his family, then he wants to return to work.
It was also noted that Ali Dzheduel, the Iranian citizen, whom Ukraine exchanged for Andriy Novichkov, returned home a bit earlier, at midnight.
Earlier, President Poroshenko informed that Novichkov, the Ukrainian sailor, has been released from custody in Iran and brought to the Ukrainian embassy in this country - after the court found him innocent in the murder case.
Andriy Novichkov left Ukraine in November 2016, after he signed the contract for the job of the captain's senior assistant at Arezoo, the Iranian vessel. Novichkov joined the crew near Shanghai. 18 days after the vessel entered the South China Sea, Novichkov had a conflict with another sailor. According to the Ukrainian, he acted aggressively, tried to punch him, and then just jumped off the board. The crew stopped the vessel and tried searching the man, but never found him.
The crew was disbanded after the incident. In February 2017, Novichkov was taken to the coast by force and taken to the police, where they demanded that he admit his guilt in the murder. In April 2017, the Ukrainian diplomats managed to bring Novichkov to another prison in Tehran. In November 2017, Novichkov began a hunger strike; eleven days after that, the investigation released him under the personal commitment of the ambassador. Novichkov was forbidden to leave the country. If considered guilty, the Ukrainian sailor could have been executed.