Wednesday, August 10, 2022

A Ukrainian Sailor Tried To Sink His Russian Boss’s Yacht

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A Ukrainian sailor was arrested in Mallorca, Spain on Saturday for trying to sink a yacht that belongs to a Russian CEO, who is reportedly a Russian arms dealer that supplies the Russian military. According to local news, Ultima Hora, the Spanish Civil Guard detained 55-year old Taras Ostapchuk after he opened a large valve in the yacht’s engine room and another valve elsewhere, thereby partially sinking the vessel while demanding that his coworkers abandon ship.

Ostapchuk worked aboard the yacht for ten years as a ship engineer for the vessel’s owner, Alexander Mikheev. Mikheev is the director of Rosoboronexport. The BBC reports that this Russian company deals in “[defense] products, including tanks, fighting vehicles, aircraft, ships, weapons and ammunition.”

The yacht is dubbed the Lady Anastasia, a 157-foot vessel worth an estimated $7.8 million. The yacht had docked at Port Adriano, a marina in southwest Mallorca that caters to the wealthy and is “unashamedly devoted to luxury.”

When the Civil Guard arrived to Port Adriano, Ostapchuk told agents his former employer “is a criminal that earns a living dealing in arms, which are now killing Ukrainians,” per Ultima Hora. Ostapchuk was brought before a Spanish judge after his arrest but reportedly expressed no remorse when he said, “I do not regret anything that I’ve done, and I would do it again.”

Ostapchuk went on to tell the judge that he sought revenge on his former boss after following news coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine while off-shift. The footage that spurred him on showed Russian missiles striking apartment buildings in Kyiv on Saturday morning.

Ostpachuk reportedly returned aboard the Lady Anastasia to try to sink her and reminded coworkers on the yacht that they were Ukrainians, too. He told them the missiles destroying the apartment buildings in Kyiv could very well have been supplied by their boss. He also reportedly told coworkers that he would assume all responsibility for the act.

When the Civil Guard brought him before the judge, Ostapchuk denied wanting to do bodily harm to his old boss, claiming he only wished to harm his property. The judge charged Ostapchuk but released him on bail, as the BBC reports.

In a later interview, Ostapchuk told Ultima Hora the apartments destroyed in Kyiv may have been near his own home and that he was thinking of his family. He went on to say the following:

Why would I need a job, if I don’t have my country? Yes, it’s true, I had good work as a chief engineer on the boat and a good salary, but I will fight for my country. I’ve lost my job, but that is not a problem. I will not lose my country. I am not a hero, I’m a middle-aged man, but have a lot of mechanical experience. I’ve never raised arms, but will if it’s necessary. Why not?

Ultima Hora reports that Taras Ostapchuk is boarding a plane to Poland on Monday. He claims he will then return by train or bus to his home city of Kyiv, to volunteer in Ukraine’s defense effort.

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