Ukrainian President presents awards to the sailors detained by Russia in the Kerch Strait
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko presented awards to the families of sailors detained by Russian border guards in the Kerch Strait. This was stated by the head of state on Twitter.
"While visiting the Odessa oblast I have awarded the Ukrainian servicemen, who are now in captivity in Russia," wrote Poroshenko on Twitter. He added that the sailors should be returned to Ukraine along with the seized armored boats and the tugboat.
On 25 November last year, Russia attacked and captured the Ukrainian military boats Berdyansk and Nikopol and the tugboat Yany Kapu in neutral waters. All 24 Ukrainians on board were accused of violating the Russian state border, arrested, and transferred from Kerch to Moscow. Ukraine considered this an act of military aggression, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognized the captured sailors as prisoners of war.
US President Donald Trump canceled his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin because of the Kerch Strait incident. US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker similarly called off his scheduled negotiation session with Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov.
Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said in December that Ukraine had invited its international partners to take part in a passage of naval ships from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait. The Russian media warned that this could “aggravate the situation”.