Ukrainian Court Authorizes Arrest Of Seized Russian Tanker Nika Spirit
KIEV (Sputnik) - A Ukrainian court on Tuesday arrested Russian tanker Nika Spirit, along with the documents seized during the search on board the vessel, Ukrainian Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoliy Matios said.
"Following the consideration of the relevant petition, the court arrested the indicated vessel together with the documents seized during the search. We did it!" Matios wrote on Facebook.
Last week the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) said that it had detained Russian tanker Nika Spirit in the port of Izmail in the Odessa region. The Ukrainian side claims that it used to be called NEYMA and it was allegedly involved in an incident in the Kerch Strait in November 2018 that led to Russia seizing three Ukrainian vessels.
The incident that took place on 25 November, when Ukraine's Berdyansk and Nikopol gunboats and the Yany Kapu tugboat illegally crossed the Russian maritime border as they sailed toward the Kerch Strait, which is the entrance to the Sea of Azov. Russia seized the Ukrainian vessels and detained 24 people on board after they failed to respond to a demand to stop. After the incident, Russia opened a criminal case on the illegal border crossing.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin called the Kerch Strait incident a provocation, noting that there were members of the Ukrainian security service, who were in charge of the operation, onboard the Ukrainian vessels. He said that the provocation was prepared in advance as a pretext to declare martial law in Ukraine, which was announced after the incident and lasted for a month, and was President Petro Poroshenko's attempt to shore up his falling ratings ahead of the presidential election in March.
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