- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 21, 2019

Russian and Ukrainian officials were at odds Thursday over whether toilets were taken from seized naval ships that Moscow returned to Kyiv this week.

The Russian Federal Security Service pushed back after a Ukrainian Navy commander recently complained about the condition of the ships, which were captured with their crew near Crimea last November and returned nearly a year later on Tuesday.

“The Russians ruined them — even took off lamps, power outlets and toilets,” Ukrainian Navy Vice Admiral Ihor Voronchenko said Wednesday. “We will show the whole world the Russian barbarism towards them.”

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Also known as the FSB, the Russian security agency responded in a statement Thursday rejecting the Ukrainian commander’s complaint and denying responsibility.

“If Ukraine managed to ruin the vessels and their bathroom equipment as they crossed the coast of Crimea to Ochakiv, that’s Ukraine’s problem,” the FSB said in a statement, The Moscow Times reported in English.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and control over the Black Sea peninsula has been contested ever since.

Three Ukrainian Navy vessel and their crew of 24 were captured by Russian officials while traveling through the Kerch Strait near Crimea on Nov. 25, 2018. The sailors were detained until September, and the ships were returned this week.

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