Ballistic examination has shown that the Berdyansk boat was hit by an armor-piercing projectile from a Russian Ka-52 helicopter, which confirms the aggressive nature of the Russian attack on Ukrainian ships in November 2018.
“We would like to draw the attention of delegations to the results of a ballistic examination of the damage caused by the attack on three Ukrainian ships and their crew members by the Russian Federation on November 25, 2018. Russia returned those ships to Ukraine last November in accordance with a mandatory order of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The shell hole in the Berdyansk armored boat resulted from the direct airstrike with an armor-piercing projectile from the Russian Navy Ka-52 helicopter,” Deputy Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna Ihor Lossovsky said during a meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation in Vienna, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
The representative of Ukraine stressed that the evidence “clearly confirms the aggressive and illegal nature of the actions taken by Russia in the Black Sea in November 2018.”
The other two ships, the Yany Kapu and the Nikopol, were sent for repair. The Ukrainian delegation had previously provided the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation with detailed information about serious damage and looting committed by the Russian side on captured boats, Lossovsky added.
As reported, on November 25, 2018, Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian Navy ships, the Berdyansk, the Nikopol, and the Yany Kapu, heading from Odesa to Mariupol, near the Kerch Strait. In addition, their crewmembers, 24 Ukrainian sailors, were captured. Three of them were wounded. A Russian-controlled court in the occupied Crimea arrested the detained Ukrainian sailors on charges of alleged illegal border crossing.
On May 25, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release 24 seamen and three ships and allow them to return to Ukraine.
On September 7, Ukraine and Russia exchanged detainees in the 35-for-35 format. Twenty-four Ukrainian seamen returned home as part of the exchange.
On November 18, 2019, after 358 days of unlawful seizure, the Berdyansk and the Nikopol boats and the Yany Kapu tugboat were transferred to Ukraine in neutral waters in accordance with the ITLOS order.
On November 20, the ships were delivered by tugboats to the Ukrainian Navy base in Ochakiv practically in destroyed condition. They have not been repaired so far as the investigative activities and ballistic expertise were ongoing.