Ukraine’s maritime industry has suffered UAH 10 bln (approx. $36.1 mln) damage since Russia’s illegal blockade of the Sea of Azov last year. Ukraine Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelian told this UNIAN, Censor.NET reports.
"The damage for the state-owned enterprises, Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority and for the region in general has reached the amount of 10 bln UAH. We have been warning about Putin’s intentions to block the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov since the beginning of Kerch Bridge construction," said Omelian.
He mentioned that today, the situation around the passage of vessels through the Strait is improving, but earlier they had to wait in lines for days.
But there is also another type of threat: the shipowners redirect their cargoes to the Black Sea to avoid damage and it is much easier for them to work with ports outside the Sea of Azov, Omelian said.
Nov. 25, Russian border vessels committed aggressive actions against three Ukrainian ships that set sail from the port of Odesa to the port of Mariupol in the Azov Sea. After that, Russian special forces opened fire on the Ukrainian tugboat Yany Kapu, small armored artillery boats Berdiansk and Nikopol in the Kerch Strait and seized them. There were 23 sailors on board the ships, and six of them were wounded.
Russia announced its intention to try detained Ukrainian sailors for allegedly illegal crossing of the Russian state border.
Nov. 26, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in Ukraine related to the latest developments in the Black and Azov Seas.
Later on the same day, Ukraine's parliament gave the green light to a presidential decree on the introduction of martial law for 30 days in 10 regions of Ukraine – Vinnytsia region, Luhansk region, Mykolaiv region, Odesa region, Sumy region, Kharkiv region, Chernihiv region, Kherson region, Donetsk region and Zaporizhia region, as well as the inland waters of the Azov-Kerch water area.
Nov. 28, the Russian district court of Simferopol city in occupied Crimea arrested 24 Ukrainian sailors, who had been captured by Russian FSB near the Kerch Strait, for two months. They all face six years in prison.
Nov. 30, the sailors were transferred to Moscow: 21 Ukrainians were brought to Moscow Lefortovo Prison, the three wounded to Matrosskaya Tishyna.