The governor of annexed Crimea caused a stir on social media when his expedition to inspect the region’s massive floods was followed by a trio of mysterious swimmers.
Video published by the 24 Krym news channel shows Governor Sergei Aksyonov traveling through the flooded city of Kerch on a boat with the three men swimming close behind.
No one seems to be able to give a straight answer to who the men in wetsuits are or why they were swimming behind the governor’s boat.
The emergency situations ministry told the RBC news website that they were just ordinary civilians who felt like going for a swim.
“These were civilians who made a strange decision for themselves in this critical situation,” the ministry’s press service said. “They put on these suits and couldn't think of anything smarter than to follow Aksenov's boat.”
The ministry also said that swimmers didn’t need any help from the governor or the others on the boat and returned to shore “happy and satisfied.”
But media reports and Aksenov himself identified the swimmers as security officers accompanying the governor during his flood inspection.
"To the employees of the Emergency Situations Ministry I want to say words of gratitude, there is no doubt they accompany everyone, without exception," Aksyonov told journalists after his tour.
Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, has been hit by heavy rains that flooded entire towns and villages on the eastern part of the peninsula.