Kremlin Adviser Says Summit On Ukraine Conflict May Happen In 2019

Clay Curtis
November 18, 2019

Russian Federation on Monday began the process of handing over three captured naval ships to Ukraine in the Black Sea, the TASS news agency cited a security source as saying.

The TV channel Crimea 24 released footage of the three Ukrainian boats being towed by the Russian coastguard across the Kerch Strait.

Russia began moving three captured Ukrainian navy ships on Sunday, Reuters reported, after a Russian newspaper said Moscow would return them to Ukraine ahead of a summit.

"In accordance with agreements reached with Ukraine three Ukrainian ships ... are being towed to a location agreed with the Ukrainian side for their handover, which will take place on November 18", Crimea's border service said on Sunday, according to Russian news agencies.

"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", border officials with the Russian secret service told the Interfax news agency.

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Moscow said the ships - two small Ukrainian armored artillery vessels and a tug boat - had illegally entered its territorial waters.

On Friday, the French presidency announced a summit involving France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine in Paris on December 9 to discuss ways to resolve the wider conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow never claimed that it would return the Ukrainian warships involved in the Kerch Strait incident back to Kiev, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The sailors were detained for 10 months and returned home in September as part of a prisoner exchange.

"I think there will be a chance to organize [the summit] this year", Ushakov said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy won a landslide election victory in April promising to end the conflict.

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