MOSCOW, November 18. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a telephone conversation, has briefed his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on the handover of three naval ships that had been detained for the provocation in the Kerch Strait to Ukraine, the Kremlin press service reported.
"Vladimir Putin briefed the French president on today’s handover of three warships, which were involved in the provocation in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018, to Ukrainian representatives in the Black Sea," the press service said.
Earlier in the day, Russia returned to Ukraine the three ships detained in the Kerch Strait a year ago in the international waters of the Black Sea, 30 kilometers away from Cape Takil. Now these ships (the Nikopol, the Berdyansk and the Yany Kapu) are heading towards Odessa.
Kerch Strait incident
On November 25, 2018, three Ukrainian naval ships violated the rules of navigation in Russia’s territorial waters on the way from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. Military force had to be used to stop them in the Kerch Strait. The ships were detained and 24 crewmembers arrested and charged with state border violation.
On September 7, 2019, Russia and Ukraine exchanged groups of arrestees and convicts. Either country released 35 persons. The 24 Ukrainian sailors were allowed to leave for home in the swap.
Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation is currently looking into the legitimacy of the former Ukrainian authorities’ decision to send three naval ships to the Kerch Strait.