Russia Blocks Ukrainian Ships From Azov Sea
Passage for a total of 35 ships is blocked
Photo from Ukrinform-UATV
Russia has blocked passage to all Ukrainian ports in Mariupol and Berdiansk in the Azov Sea, the Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan wrote yesterday on Facebook.
Overall, 35 vessels have been prevented from both leaving and entering the sea.
Currently, 18 vessels are waiting to enter the Azov Sea, four to Berdiansk and 14 to Mariupol.
Three vessels are unable to leave the port of Berdiansk and six are unable to leave the port of Mariupol to enter the Black Sea. Eight other vessels are standing by near the port berths.
Only vessels moving towards Russian ports on the Azov Sea are permitted entry.
According to Omelyan, Moscow is deliberately making the situation in the region tense. Russia intends to drive Ukraine out from its legal territories, which are enshrined in international law.
“The actions of the Russians are clearly aimed at escalating the crisis in the Azov Sea and to destabilize the region,” he said.
Russian provocations began on Nov. 25. It started with a Russian coastal guard ship ramming into a Ukrainian tugboat that was transporting two artillery boats from Odesa to Mariupol. Russia blocked access to the Azov Sea altogether and sent two Ka-52 attack helicopters to tail the Ukrainian ships. Finally, it fired on the vessels.
Russian Special Forces then seized the three Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea. Several sailors were wounded.
Poroshenko then signed a decree introducing martial law. The Verkhovna Rada committee approved the decree, and finally the Rada voted to pass martial law in 10 regions of the country for 30 days.
Arsen Avakov, Ukrainian minister of internal affairs, posted a video that shows the Russian ship trailing the Ukrainian tugboat and ramming into it intentionally.