Ukraine seizes Russian tanker, frees crew

Ukraine seizes Russian tanker, frees crew

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) seized a Russian oil tanker in the Ukrainian port of Izmail on Thursday (local time).

SBU alleges the tanker was involved in an incident in the Kerch Strait near Crimea last year which saw Russian border forces capture a Ukrainian naval ship and its crew, who remain in Russian custody.

The Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office told Reuters that 10 of the tanker’s crew members had been interrogated as witnesses.

Citing the Russian Embassy in Ukraine, RBC reported that all crew members had been sent back to Russia.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry had earlier warned Kiev against “taking Russians hostage”, saying there would be brisk “consequences”.

SBU claims the tanker blocked Ukrainian warships’ passage through the Kerch Strait in November, and that its name was changed from Neyma to Nika Spirit “to hide the fact of its involvement”.

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