Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan says that the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdiansk on the Sea of Azov are effectively under blockade by the Russian Federation.
"The Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov – Mariupol and Berdiansk – are effectively under blockade by the Russian Federation. Vessels are being barred from leaving and entering," he wrote on Facebook on November 28.
There are 18 vessels waiting for entry into the Sea of Azov: four are heading to the port of Berdiansk and14 to the port of Mariupol.
Three vessels that have left Berdiansk and six vessels that have left Mariupol are waiting for exit from the Sea of Azov to enter the Black Sea across the Kerch Strait, the minister said. Another eight ships are standing by near the port berths.
"Overall, 35 vessels have been prevented from carrying out normal operations. Only vessels moving towards Russian ports on the Sea of Azov are permitted entry. In essence, Russia has blocked the Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov. The actions of the Russians are clearly aimed at escalating the crisis in the Sea of Azov and destabilizing the region. The goal is simple – by placing a blockade on the Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov, Russia hopes to drive Ukraine out of our own territory – the territory that is ours in accordance with all relevant international laws," the minister stressed.
The Infrastructure Ministry earlier said that a recent move by Ukraine's authorities to impose martial law was unlikely to affect the number of ship calls to Ukraine's maritime merchant ports.
On November 26, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, enacted President Petro Poroshenko's decree to impose martial law in 10 regions bordering Russia until December 26.