Ukraine Seizes Russian Tanker, Moscow Warns of 'Consequences'


Russian Federation is still holding the Ukrainian Navy boats, and sailors, from November, and initially this move was seen as an attempt to try to set up an exchange.

Authorities said that the tanker was used in a Russian operation to block Ukrainian vessels from sailing through the Kerch Strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov in November past year. The tanker was called Neyma at the time.

The vessel remains in Ukrainian custody but its crew have been freed and were on their way home, according to a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Kyiv.

The Neyma had since changed its name to Nika Spirit "to hide the fact of its involvement", the SBU said.

Product tanker NIKA SPIRIT (ex-NEYMA) was detained by Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) on Jul 25, SBU is requesting arrest warrant in Ukrainian Court. Moscow has called the incident a provocation, while Kiev denied any wrongdoing and western countries denounced the "aggressive" actions of Russian Federation.

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In Moscow, senior Russian lawmaker Vladimir Dzhabarov described Ukraine's actions as "absolutely illegal" and detrimental to relations between the two countries, RIA said. With Russia having already gotten their crew released, however, it may just delay matters by increasing hostility between the two nations.

The engineer also said that the crew members had been able to move freely around the vessel.

Russia, for its part, said there would be consequences soon "if Russians have been taken hostages".

There are ten Russian crew members 'being put on a bus to Moldova, they will fly to Moscow from there, ' the agency quoted the office of Russian ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova as saying. Russian Federation insisted the boats violated its territorial waters and detained the 24 Ukrainians onboard. Crimea was subsequently annexed by Russia and conflict with pro-Russian separatists broke out in eastern Ukraine, killing almost 13,000 in five years.

Moscow has accused the sailors of violating its maritime borders.