A Ukrainian crewman, who attempted to wreck his Russian boss’s boat earlier this month, stated it was his “first move toward a conflict with Russia.”
After witnessing a Russian missile strike an apartment building in his hometown of Kyiv, Taras Ostapchuk, 55, who served as a chief engineer on the Lady Anastasia for ten years, was determined last month to release valves on the ship in a bid to sink her.
“You have to decide: either you support Ukraine or you do not. Either there will be a Ukraine, or you will have a job, and you must choose.”
“I don’t require a job if I do not have Ukraine,” Ostapchuk stated in an interview with CNN that was released on Thursday.
A crew member on a yacht linked to an oligarch tried to sink it after hearing of a strike on his city. "Either you are with Ukraine or not," he says.https://t.co/gFEXWvGgan
— CNN (@CNN) March 25, 2022
Ostapchuk feels there is a link between the devastation in Ukraine and the man who he feels owns the yacht, Alexander Mikheev, a top government official, according to his observations.
During a visit to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca on Feb. 26, Ostapchuk manipulated valves in the ship’s engine room, allowing water to flow in.
The yacht was docked at the time. He notified three of the other Ukrainian members of the crew, who eventually called port officials and the police, fearful for their employment.
In a statement to the police, Ostapchuk stated he attempted to destroy the yacht as a political protest against the Russian invasion. Authorities detained Ostapchuk, but he was freed the following day.
He is now a member of the Ukrainian army; he told the news source he hopes his duty will bring “our victory that much closer.”
As per Ostapchuk, there is no doubt Mikheev and his relatives were the only ones who took advantage of the vessel’s vacationing capabilities. The oligarch should be held liable for Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
The vessel’s connection to Mikheev has yet to be established since a spokeswoman for Rosoboronexport declined to comment when contacted by the media source.
Sanctions imposed on dozens of Russian oligarchs have prompted some to transfer their boats to more welcoming cruising grounds.
The super-yacht Solaris, owned by Roman Abramovich, has been traced off the coast of Turkey in recent days.
This comes after abandoning the Montenegrin seas in response to a warning that the country may impose sanctions similar to those imposed by the European Union shortly.
US officials pursuing Russian oligarchs say no place to hide https://t.co/Hdc4akKeyE
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 25, 2022
Earlier this month, the United States Department of State sanctioned Mikheev.
On the same day, Spanish officials “provisionally” arrested Lady Anastasia while assessing whether or not she falls under the purview of the European Union sanctions.
In the previous instance in which the yacht was traced, it was located in the port of Mallorca, according to MarineTraffic.
Requests for comment from Rosoboronexport did not receive a response.