Putin refuses to release Ukrainian sailors and ships

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Russian president says it is ‘too early’ in investigation to consider a prisoner swap and accuses Ukraine government of provocation

Vladimir Putin has said it is “too early” to return Ukrainian sailors and naval vessels seized by Russia in the Sea of Azov, accusing the Ukrainian government of provoking an incident as a distraction from domestic problems.

Putin was speaking to reporters after the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, where Donald Trump cancelled a meeting with the Russian leader because of Moscow’s refusal to release the 24 Ukrainians. The Russian president said it was necessary to detain the captives while a legal case was put together to demonstrate that the three Ukrainian naval vessels violated Russia’s territorial waters. He said the ships’ logs would show that their attempt to cross the Kerch strait from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov – enclosed by Russia, the Crimean peninsula and mainland Ukraine – was a deliberate provocation.

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Source: russia
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