Court approves seizure of tanker
A Ukrainian court has formally approved the seizure of a Russian tanker that was detained by Ukrainian authorities at the Danube River port of Izmayil last week, Ukraine’s Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoliy Matios said on July 30. According to documents posted on social media by Mr. Matios, the court in Ukraine’s southern city of Odesa issued the ruling on July 29 regarding the seizure of the tanker Nika Spirit. “The court seized the said vessel,” Mr. Matios said. “We did it legally.” The Russian vessel was seized on July 25 by Ukraine’s SBU security service and the Military Prosecutor’s Office for its alleged involvement in an incident in November 2018 off the coast of Ukraine’s Russia-occupied Crimean Peninsula. The SBU says the Russian tanker is material evidence in a case over the November 2018 Kerch Strait incident, alleging that the tanker was used to block three Ukrainian naval ships as they attempted to transit the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to reach the Sea of Azov.