SINGAPORE, November 15. /TASS/. Ukraine’s detention of a Russian vessel in the Sea of Azov is totally illegal, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters.
"They simply detained sailors, which was a totally illegal move, because according to our existing agreements, they have the right to fish anywhere except for the territorial waters," Putin said.
He expressed surprise at Ukraine’s actions, as the country "has been keeping people in custody for a whole year" despite an agreement in place. "These actions are totally illegal," the Russian president pointed out.
"When our border guards detained a vessel, [Ukraine] did not express willingness to discuss the issue, as though those people did not exist," Putin stressed. "This is the way the current Kiev authorities treat their country’s citizens," he noted.
On March 25, Ukraine’s State Border Service detained a fishing vessel flying the Russian flag in the Sea of Azov, whose crew included ten Russian nationals. The vessel’s captain Vladimir Gorbenko was charged with "violating the entry and exit rules to Ukraine’s occupied territory" and illegal fishing.
On May 4, the Russian Federal Security Service’s Crimean branch said that Russian border guards had detained Ukraine’s YaMK-0041 vessel in the Black Sea off the western coast of Crimea for illegal fishing. There were five crew members onboard, all of them Ukrainian nationals. A criminal case was opened against the vessel’s captain Viktor Novitsky, while the vessel itself was arrested.