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Zelenkys office: Zelensky, Putin discuss gas talks, handover of Ukrainian ships

November 26/ 08:15

Kiev. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on Monday had a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to discuss progress at the gas talks and the issue of the return of equipment from Ukraine’s warships, the press service of the Ukrainian presidential office reported.

"The Ukrainian head of state noted the importance of the recent return of Ukrainian ships from Russia. At the same time, Vladimir Zelensky said it is important to return all the weapons, equipment and documents from these ships," the press service said.

Apart from that, according to the press service, the two presidents also touched upon the topic of trilateral gas talks between Ukraine, Russia and the European Union.

A source in the European Union institutions in Brussels told TASS earlier in the day that a next trilateral ministerial meeting is planned to be held in the first week on December to discuss a new contract for the transit of Russian gas via Ukraine to the European Union after January 1, 2020. These talks will be preceded by an expert meeting on November 29.

On November 25, 2018, three Ukrainian warships en route from Odessa to Mariupol illegally crossed Russia’s state border, entered Russia’s territorial waters in the Kerch Strait and started performing dangerous maneuvers. Despite the repeated warnings and demands to stop, the Ukrainian vessels continued their way, forcing Russia to use weapons. All the three Ukrainian ships were detained in the Black Sea, along with 24 Ukrainian sailors who were later charged with violating the border. On September 7, 2019, Moscow and Kiev carried out a "35 for 35" exchange of detainees, which included the 24 Ukrainian sailors detained in the Kerch Strait.

The three Ukrainian vessels - the Yany Kapu tugboat and small armored artillery boats Berdyansk and Nikopol - were handed over to Ukraine in the Black Sea on November 18.

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