Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Ukraine: Shipping traffic resumes following Russia standoff

Ukraine Says Russia Partially Unblocked Its Azov Sea Ports Ukraine Says Russia Partially Unblocked Its Azov Sea Ports
Kenny Thornton | 08 December, 2018, 22:00

Ukraine said Russian Federation had partially restored access to its ports on the Azov Sea following months of disruption and a week after its navy was sacked on by its neighbor.

"As stated in the letter, Parubiy thanked Pence "for the permanent support of Ukraine" and informed on the events of 25 November 2018, when the Russian Federation, violating the sovereignty of Ukraine and global law, attacked the Ukrainian boat "Berdyansk" and "Nikopol", as well as inshore tug "Yana Kapu", captured them, wounding and capturing Ukrainian sailors".

"Ukraine is constantly considering the Budapest Memorandum as an important worldwide instrument for ensuring Ukraine's security", the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Russian Federation and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russian Federation annexed the Crimean Peninsula following a controversial referendum. Ukraine says Russian Federation has purposely held up its ships to choke its Azov Sea ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk, from which metals and agricultural goods are exported.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has expressed its strong protest to the Russian Federation in connection with the armed attack and capture of the Ukrainian navy ships Berdyansk, Nikopol and the tug boat Yana Kapu and 23 crew members. Ukraine has declared martial law in some regions and banned entry to Russian men aged 16 to 60. The speaker, in particular, encouraged the United States to take decisive action, namely the full implementation of existing and introduction of new sanctions against Russian Federation.

Ukraine says Russian Federation had blocked traffic around the Kerch Strait, but Russian Federation says the passage has been operating as usual, except for weather-related delays. The ministry also said that "the passage of ships with agricultural products through ports on the Sea of Azov have been unblocked".

Despite worldwide calls for their release, the Ukrainians were sentenced to two months detention and are now held in Moscow.

"As we expected, Moscow provides manual access regulation of merchant vessels in the Ukrainian ports of the Azov sea according to the ancient principle of the Kremlin: "I want/do not want"... as a result of this approach, two Ukrainian port lost more than twice the traffic, are forced to go on a 4-day working week and cut staff", wrote the Minister.

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