Russia, Ukraine did not discuss handover of detained vessels in Kerch Strait

TASS Russian News Agency | Sep 13, 2019 at 10:37 AM

MOSCOW, September 13. /TASS/. In the course of the prisoner swap negotiations, Russia and Ukraine have not discussed the handover of Ukrainian ships detained in the Kerch Strait, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday. "No, we haven't discussed this issue," he said, adding that he is not ready to specify the conditions Russia puts forward to hand over the ships to Ukraine.

"I am not ready to discuss this issue with you now. It seems that this issue should be raised within the framework of the contacts between Moscow and Kiev," the Kremlin spokesman said. "When the issue is raised, we will discuss it."

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.