ROSTOV-ON-DON, November 17. /TASS/. Russia began moving Ukrainian Navy warships, which were seized in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018, a source in the Southern Federal District’s emergency services told TASS.
"The operation on moving [the vessels] has started," the source said.
Earlier, Andrei Yermak, aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, told the Novoye Vremya daily that the process of returning the Ukrainian small armored boats Berdyansk and Nikopol, as well as the Yany Kapu tugboat, detained last year by Russia in the Kerch Strait, was at its final stage.
Crimea24 TV channel reported that at the moment the warships were being transported by motorboats of the Russian Federal Security Service’s branch in Crimea. The vessels will be handed over to Ukraine at Cape Tarkhankut after crossing the Crimean Bridge’s arches.
On November 25, 2018, three Ukrainian warships, en route from Odessa to Mariupol, illegally crossed Russia’s state border, entered Russia’s territorial waters in the Kerch Strait and started performing dangerous maneuvers. Despite the repeated warnings and demands to stop, the Ukrainian vessels continued their way, forcing Russia to use weapons. All three Ukrainian ships were detained in the Black Sea, along with 24 Ukrainian sailors.
On September 7, Moscow and Kiev carried out a "35 for 35" exchange of detainees, which included the 24 Ukrainian sailors detained in the Kerch Strait.