Russia has finally decided to return Ukrainian Navy Ships seized a year ago, as it plans for a summit to try to resolve the wider conflict between the nations, said sources.
Border Officials with the Russian Secret Service told sources that “in accordance with agreements concluded with the Ukrainian side, three Ukrainian ships…are being towed from the port of Kerch to an approved transfer point.”
The also informed that the transfer was to take place today.
Video footage of the three Navy boats was released being dragged by the Russian Coastguard across the Kerch Strait.
The Navy Ships are noticed passing under the Crimea Bridge crossing the strait, set up by Moscow to link Russia with the Crimean Peninsula, annexed in the year 2014.
In November 2018, Russia has seized two gunboats and a tugboat of Ukraine as they headed towards the Kerch Strait, a narrow waterway providing access to the Sea of Azov that is used by both Russia and Ukraine.
Twenty-four sailors from Ukraine captured as prisoners at the time returned to their homeland as part of an exchange scheme in September.
On Friday, the French Presidency has announced a summit involving Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia in Paris on December 9 to discuss methods to resolve the wider conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
The summit was made workable by “major advances” since Volodymyr Zelensky was elected as the President of Ukraine in April, said the French Presidency.
However, Kremlin Advisor Yuri Yushakov didn’t disclose a date for the summit. He stated that it was “still under discussion, but certainly this year.”
It wasn’t made clear when the interview was reported.
After coming to power, President Zelensky has urged to restore the peace process to end a five-year-old separatist conflict in Eastern Ukraine, which has already claimed 13000 lives.
Since October, Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian Army in Eastern Ukraine have been pulled back from key frontline zones of the conflict there, a pre-condition for the summit to be taken place.