'They were attacking innocents,' he told the judge. 'I don't regret anything I've done and I would do it again.'
A Ukrainian sailor has been arrested in Mallorca, Spain, after allegedly attempting to sink a yacht owned by his Russian tycoon boss. Angered by Russia's ongoing attacks in Ukraine, the 55-year-old reportedly decided to execute his own version of justice over the weekend by opening several valves to intentionally flood the 156-foot-long vessel. Priced at 7 million euros ($7.7 million), the luxury superyacht named Lady Anastasia is owned by businessman, Alexander Mikheev—the CEO of Rosoboronexport, a Russian state-owned military weapons supplier and one of the biggest players in the international arms market.
Ukrainian sailor in Majorca tried to sink yacht of Russian boss https://t.co/skBoyagyeV— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 28, 2022
According to The Guardian, the Ukrainian sailor—identified in local reports as Taras Ostapchuk—has been employed for the past 10 years as a mechanic on the Lady Anastasia. In court, he said he felt he had to do something after watching a video on Saturday which showed a Russian cruise missile strike a residential building in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Ostapchuk believed that the missile he saw in the video was manufactured by a company owned by Mikheev. "I watched the news about the war. There was a video of a helicopter attack on a building in Kyiv. The armaments used are produced by the yacht owner's company," he said as he faced court, reports New York Post.
Ukrainian Sailor Tried to Sink Yacht Belonging to His Boss, a Russian Oligarch: Reports https://t.co/QIj3Iwktc5— People (@people) February 28, 2022
Spurred by his anger, Ostapchuk decided to take action at Port Adriano, a marina on the Spanish island of Mallorca that's known for housing boats of the ultrarich. He allegedly opened a large valve in the engine room and then another in the crew members' quarters, closed the fuel valves to prevent pollutive leaks and switched off the electricity. Then, he told crew members—most of whom are also Ukrainians—to abandon ship. According to VICE, in a statement made in court on Sunday, Ostapchuk said his fellow crew members told him he was crazy when he asked them to evacuate the Lady Anastasia.
In response, he allegedly reminded the crew members that they, too, were citizens of a country that was under attack by Russia and that he would take full responsibility for the damaged yacht. Although the crew members and other port workers intervened to prevent the sinking, the damage had been done and the Lady Anastasia was partially sunk. "The owner of this yacht is a criminal who makes his living selling arms that are now being used to kill Ukrainians," Ostapchuk reportedly told police when he was arrested.
Ukrainian sailor accused of trying to sink his Russian boss' yacht says he is now going to Kyiv to fight https://t.co/sIiMPbLItO— Insider News (@InsiderNews) March 1, 2022
In court, he said that he only wanted to cause "material damage" as an act of revenge, but not any personal harm to the owner. "They were attacking innocents," he told the judge. "I don't regret anything I've done and I would do it again." Ostapchuk was later released from custody and has since left Spain. He intended to return to his native Ukraine to help fight. "I'm going to fight. As soon as I reach the first Ukrainian city I will look for a military commander and ask him if they need me," he told local reporters. "I told myself: 'Why do I need a job if I have my country. I had a good job as a head mechanic on the boat and a good salary but I am going to fight for my nation. I am not going to lose my country. I am not a hero, I'm a middle-aged man, but I have a lot of experience as a mechanic. I've never held a weapon but if necessary I will. Why not!"