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Russian Yacht Detained By North Korea

A Russian yacht has been detained and towed to land by North Korean coast guards in the Sea of Japan.

"The North Korean side has communicated that the yacht has been taken to the port of Kimchaek," Igor Agafonov, a Foreign Ministry official in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok told state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

Agafonov said the five-member crew onboard the yacht was "alive and well" and Moscow was waiting for an explanation from Pyongyang as to the reasons the boat was detained.

He added that Russian diplomats were seeking permission to visit the crew.

An unnamed official at the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang told the TASS news agency that the sailboat was detained by North Korean coast guards late on May 13 as it was sailing from a competition in the South Korean port of Busan to Vladivostok.

A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in North Korea told RIA Novosti that the mission had demanded the immediate release of the crew.

Russia, which has a short land border with North Korea, has relatively friendly ties with Pyongyang.

Based on reporting by AFP, TASS, and RIA Novosti