President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has expressed gratitude to the Georgian leadership for the release of Ukrainian citizens Yuriy Khomych and Volodymyr Dyachenko, who were previously sentenced in Georgia to four years in prison on charges of illegally crossing the Georgian state border.
"Since November 2020, we have been working on the release of Ukrainian yachtsmen Yuriy Khomych and Volodymyr Dyachenko, who were detained in Georgia. Today Georgia has released them from behind bars. I am grateful to the Georgian side for this decision, which corresponds to the spirit of strategic partnership between our countries," wrote Zelensky on Twitter on Monday.
As reported, in February 2021, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Vasyl Bodnar, during a meeting with Charge d'Affaires of Georgia in Ukraine David Bochorishvili, handed him a note with a request to release the citizens of Ukraine Dyachenko and Khomych detained onboard the yacht.
Later, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, during a conversation with his Georgian counterpart David Zalkaliani, noted that the Ukrainian side pays special attention to the detention of Dyachenko and Khomych in Georgia, and expects an impartial trial and their speedy release.
Despite this, on July 14, the Batumi City Court in Georgia sentenced Dyachenko and Khomych to four years in prison on charges of illegally crossing the Georgian state border. In this context, the Charge d'Affaires of Georgia in Ukraine was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, and the ministry itself called on the Georgian side to reconsider the decision of the Batumi City Court.
On July 19, chairman of the executive committee of the National Council of Reforms of Ukraine, ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili announced the release of Ukrainian yachtsmen together with ex-officer of the State Security Service of Georgia Mikhail Baturin. According to him, the Georgian authorities took this step under pressure from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.