Ukrainian engineer who tried to sink Russian boss' yacht said it was his 'first step for the war' after seeing Kyiv bombed

Ukrainian engineer who tried to sink Russian boss' yacht said it was his 'first step for the war' after seeing Kyiv bombed
Luxury yachts and residences in Port Adriano, a leisure harbour on the south-east coast of the island of Mallorca, Spain. Lady Anastasia not pictured.Clara Margais/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • A Ukrainian crew member said his attempt to sink his Russian boss's yacht was "political protest."
  • After being arrested earlier this month and later released, Taras Ostapchuk joined the Ukrainian army.

A Ukrainian crew member aboard the luxury yacht linked to Russian oligarch Alexander Mikheev told CNN that he "tried to sink the boat as a political protest of Russian aggression."

Taras Ostapchuk, who served as the chief engineer of the "Lady Anastasia" for 13 years, said he attempted to take down the ship while it was docked in Mallorca on February 26.

Ostapchuk told CNN that when he saw reports of Kyiv being bombed, he thought of his wife and thought to himself, "my home can be next."

"It was my first step for the war with Russia," he said.

The yacht belongs to Alexander Mikheev, who is the CEO of Rosoboronexport, a Russian state-owned military weapons company and exporter.


Mikheev was sanctioned by the US on March 15, and Spanish authorities currently have "provisionally detained" the yacht and others as they seek to determine who officially owns the yachts and whether they are eligible to be seized.

Several luxury vessels belonging to Russian oligarchs have been seized or are on the move.

Ostapchuk said when he alerted other crew members that he had cracked open several valves and that the ship was sinking, they called the police and feared for their jobs and safety.

"There were three other crew members on board besides me," Ostapchuk told CNN. "I announced to them that the boat was sinking, and they had to leave."

"You have to choose: either you are with Ukraine or not," he added, detailing the ultimatum he relayed to the other crew members. "You have to choose: will there be a Ukraine, or will you have a job ... I don't need a job if I don't have Ukraine."


Ostapchuk was arrested earlier this month, and when released, he traveled back to Ukraine where he has joined the army working on military equipment. The yacht was salvaged when port authorities used a water pump to get rid of water in the boat.

"Now I serve in the army, and I hope that my service will bring our victory closer," he told CNN. "They [oligarchs] should be held responsible, because it is they who, with their behavior, with their lifestyle, with their unquenchable greed, they precisely led to this."