Kyiv to inspect equipment, documents on board ships returned by Russia – Ukrainian Foreign Ministry
As Russia has returned the Ukrainian Navy's Nikopol and Berdyansk gunboats and the Yany Kapu tugboat, which were captured with the use of weapons in the Kerch Strait area in November 2018, Ukraine will inspect them to find out whether any equipment and documents were removed from them, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
"It would become clear following a careful inspection and expert evaluation in what condition the Ukrainian ships have been returned and whether any equipment and documents have been removed," the ministry said in a Facebook post on Monday.
Even though Russia has freed the sailors and returned the ships, the dispute concerning the violation of marine regulations is continuing, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague will conduct the first hearing on the matter on November 21-22, it said.
The Ukrainian Naval Forces command said on November 18 that the Nikopol, the Berdiansk, and the Yany Kapu seized by Russia in the Kerch Strait in 2018 were heading home. Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal said later that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague would conduct a hearing on November 21 on the violation of Ukraine's rights as a coastal state in the Black Sea, the Sea of and Azov and the Kerch Strait.