12 Sep 2019 18:27

Zelensky meets with freed Ukrainian sailors, informs of provision of housing in Odesa to them

KYIV. Sept 12 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has met with the Ukrainian naval sailors formerly held in the Russian Federation and members of their families, and told them the matter of providing them with housing in Odesa had been settled.

The meeting took place in an informal atmosphere in the park courtyard of the Mariyinsky Palace in Kyiv, the presidential press service said on its website on Thursday.

Zelensky congratulated the servicemen on their return to their homeland and thanked the sailors' relatives for their support. The sailors thanked the president for their return and some of them invited the president to their weddings.

The president said the operation to return Ukrainians from Russia had been extremely complicated. "It was very difficult to keep it a secret when so many people were involved," he said.

During the meeting, Zelensky presented the sailors with presidential watches.

Russia and Ukraine held an exchange of held persons in the "35 for 35" format on Saturday, September 7. Among the people who returned to Ukraine were filmmaker Sentsov, journalist Roman Sushchenko and the 24 sailors who were detained following an incident off the coast of Crimea last year.

Thirty-five people, including journalist Kirill Vyshinsky and Vladimir Tsemakh, a witness in the flight MH17 downing case, returned to Russia.