Russia denies stealing toilets from Ukrainian naval ships before returning them
Russia on Thursday denied stealing toilets from Ukrainian naval vessels returned to Ukraine earlier this week after a year in Russian custody.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the main successor agency of the Soviet KGB, suggested that such a theft could have taken place after the vessels were passed to the Ukrainian authorities.
If Ukrainians “managed to cause the toilet equipment to be in an unsatisfactory condition, then this is a problem of the Ukrainian side,” the FSB said in a statement carried by Russian news agency Interfax.
The FSB released a video purporting to show the transfer of the three vessels to Ukrainian authorities, with a bathroom and other facilities appearing in good condition.
The Ukrainian navy had said the previous day that the vessels were missing toilets, lamps and power outlets.
Russia returned the vessels ahead of a visit to Ukraine by Germany’s top diplomat, Heiko Maas, in an apparent gesture of goodwill.
The Russian coastguard had seized the vessels last year during a stand-off near the disputed Crimea region in which the Russian side opened fire.
Russia occupied and annexed Crimea, a peninsula geographically attached to mainland Ukraine, five years ago in response to Ukraine ousting its pro-Russian president in a pivot towards the West.
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