Ukrainian military ships seized in the Kerch Strait for violating the Russian border have been tugged toward the handover site on the Ukrainian side of the border, according to the Federal Security Service (FSB) border authorities press office in Republic of Crimea on Sunday.
In the statement, the departmental agency noted that three Ukrainian ships – the tug “Yana Kapu” and the artillery ships “Nikopol” and “Berdyansk” – were towed from the Port of Kerch towards the agreed upon site on the Ukrainian side, with the handover set to take place on November 18.
According to social media, the ship transfer will take place near the Ukrainian cape Takil around midday Sunday .
On November 25, 2018 Russian FSB border authorities intercepted the Ukrainian ships which had violated the Russian border while following from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.
Twenty-four seamen were taken from onboard and were arrested on charges of frontier infringement.
After the incident the Ukrainian side claimed that its ships had permission to cross the Kerch Strait based on international law.
In summer 2019 Russia offered to transfer the arrested seamen to Ukraine provided they gave guarantees against their participation in lawsuits, while also guaranteeing the safe keeping of the Ukrainian vessels.The seamen were subsequently returned to Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange.