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Russia’s embassy urges North Korea to release crew of detained yacht

June 16, 11:42 UTC+3 PYONGYANG
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© AP Photo/Vincent Thian

PYONGYANG, June 16. /TASS/. Russia’s Embassy in North Korea has called on the authorities to release the crew of a detained Russian yacht Katalexa, a spokesman for the diplomatic mission in Pyongyang, Denis Samsonov, told TASS on Friday.

The embassy has "expressed bewilderment" over a statement of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s consular department that the yacht was detained while sailing in the Sea of Japan for violating the country’s border.

According to Samsonov, the Russian yacht was detained in the area located no closer than 50 miles away from the shore.

Now Katalexa is in the port of Rajin, in the country’s northeast. Russia’s Consul-General in Chongjin Yury Bochkarev is heading there to meet with the crew members and verify details of the incident. The head of Russia’s company in Rajin, RasonKonTrans, Ivan Tonkih is finding out if the Russians have drinking water and food.

Russia’s Embassy in North Korea has set up an operation headquarters in connection with the incident.

The Katalexa yacht was being towed from Taiwan to the Russky Island off Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East, the regional Yachting Sport Federation told TASS. According to this organization, three crew members were onboard the yacht.

Last year, another Russian yacht en route from South Korea’s Busan to Vladivostok was apprehended approximately 80 miles from the North Korean coast. The vessel was released when Russian diplomats intervened. North Korean authorities said it was held "by mistake" after a crew of a North Korean fishing vessel noticed a South Korean logo on its hull.

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