Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi inspected the three naval vessels which were seized by Russia last November, shortly after the ships docked at the port of Ochakov on Wednesday.
Zelenskiy said that the vessels, which were handed over to Kiev on Sunday, were in need of repair and that some equipment was missing.
“We will definitely ask the Russian side to return everything which was there. At the same time, we plan to fix the vessels,” stated the president.
Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) border authorities seized the ships in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018 for violating the Russian border.
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.