"Zelenskyi noted the importance of Russia's recent return of Ukrainian ships. At the same time, Zelenskyi stressed the need to return all weapons, equipment and documentation that were aboard," the statement says.
The parties also touched upon the issue of gas negotiations in the trilateral Ukraine-Russia-EU format.
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, 2019, 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, the process of returning the Ukrainian ships was initiated in the Black Sea. Their handover took place in neutral waters.
On November 19, the Ukrainian Navy headquarters told Ukrinform that the ships would be subjected to examination after returning to the base of the national military fleet.