A Ukrainian sailor has tried to sink a yacht owned by a Russian arms tycoon, in an act of fury at the Kremlin’s invasion of his homeland.
Taras Ostapchuk was arrested on the Spanish island of Majorca on Saturday after taking aim at the Russian aggression by sinking the $13 million superyacht belonging to his boss and the CEO of Russia’s state-owned defence conglomerate, Alexander Mikheev.
Mr Ostapchuk showed no contrition in his rebellion against Russian oppression on Sunday.
“I do not regret anything that I’ve done, and I would do it again,” he told a Spanish judge after his arrest.
Ostapchuk, 55, had spent 10 years as the engineer aboard the Lady Anastasia – a 48-metre yacht owned by the chief of Rosoboronexport.
At the weekend, he allegedly opened one valve in the yacht’s engine room and another elsewhere, partially sinking the vessel while demanding that his Ukrainian coworkers abandon ship.
Instead, the other crew reportedly alerted authorities to the attempted sinking.
Mr Ostapchuk said AP his act of defiance came after he saw an online newscast of a Russian missile striking a house resembling his own in Kyiv.
He said the bombing flicked a switch in his head – event hough he had known for almost a decade of his employer’s arms-dealing activities.
The arms produced were “now being used against my own people”, Mr Ostapchuk said.
“Why would I need a job, if I don’t have my country?” Mr Ostapchuk later told local newspaper Ultima Hora.
“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?”
On Sunday, a local judge said Mr Ostapchuk now considered Mr Mikheev “a criminal because he earns money selling arms that, according to him, kill Ukrainians”.
Ultima Hora also reported that Mr Ostapchuk had boarded a plane for Poland on Monday. He intended to travel to Kyiv to volunteer in Ukraine’s defence effort.