Ukraine seizes Russian tanker in Black Sea

The Russian tanker Nika Spirit has been detained by the Ukrainian security service in the port of Izmail, Ukraine. (Reuters)
Updated 25 July 2019

Ukraine seizes Russian tanker in Black Sea

  • Authorities said the tanker was involved in blocking Ukrainian vessels from sailing through the Kerch Strait in November
  • The 10-member crew of the Russian tanker were allowed to disembark and leave Ukraine since they were not involved in November’s incident

MOSCOW: The Ukrainian Security Service said Thursday it had seized a Russian tanker in a Black Sea port, a move that could undermine an anticipated prisoner swap between the two countries.
The security service said it detained the Russian tanker in a Ukrainian port on Wednesday. Authorities said the tanker was involved in blocking Ukrainian vessels from sailing through the Kerch Strait in November. Russia alleged the vessels breached its territorial waters.
The 10-member crew of the Russian tanker were allowed to disembark and leave Ukraine since they were not involved in November’s incident, Russian human rights ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova said.
Russian ships fired on and seized the Ukrainian vessels on Nov. 25 in the Kerch Strait, located between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Ukraine has insisted the vessels were in international waters when Russia intercepted them.
Officials in both countries, which already had strained relations, said earlier this month they were preparing a major prisoner exchange that would include the 24 Ukrainian crew members who were detained in November.
UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the United Nations could not independently verify the circumstances surrounding the incident but “we reiterate the need to refrain from any ratcheting up of actions or rhetoric.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office did not have immediate comment on the incident. Russian officials protested the tanker’s seizure, saying it would dampen the chances of the prisoner swap.
“This is very bad news,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency Thursday. “Someone in Kiev wants a tough throwback to their own provocation on Nov. 25.”
The Ukrainian Security Service, also known as SBU, is still led by an ally of Ukraine’s former president, Petro Poroshenko,
Zelenskiy called Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month for their first conversation since Zelenskiy took office in May. The Ukrainian president, who was a popular comedian before he won an April election, made securing the release of the Ukrainian sailors one of his first priorities.


World’s oldest man dies in Japan at 112

Updated 25 February 2020

World’s oldest man dies in Japan at 112

  • Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, died on Sunday at his nursing home
  • The news came less than two weeks after Watanabe was officially recognized by Guinness World Records

TOKYO: A Japanese man recently named the world’s oldest living male has died aged 112, a local official said Tuesday.

Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, died on Sunday at his nursing home in the same prefecture, the official said.

The news came less than two weeks after he was officially recognized by Guinness World Records.

Watanabe, who had five children, said the secret to longevity was to “not get angry and keep a smile on your face.”

He admitted a penchant for sweets such as custard pudding and ice cream.

The oldest man in Japan is now Issaku Tomoe, who is 110 years old, according to Jiji Press, although it was not clear if Tomoe holds the title globally.

The oldest living person is also Japanese, Kane Tanaka, a 117-year-old woman.

Japan has one of the world’s highest life expectancies and has been home to several people recognized as among the oldest humans to have ever lived.

They include Jiroemon Kimura, the longest-living man on record, who died soon after his 116th birthday in June 2013.

The oldest verified person — Jeanne Louise Calment of France — died in 1997 at the age of 122, according to Guinness.