“The Mariupol port was forced to switch to a four-day working week. We see permanent halts of Ukrainian and foreign ships in the Sea of Azov, the Kerch Strait up to the point that shipowners suffer losses due to ships’ downtime: about $15,000-50,000 per day. The average halt time [of ships] reaches more than 30 hours. Not only Ukraine, but also European taxpayers sustain losses since the products from these ports went to the European markets,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said, the Radio Liberty reports.
Earlier, the European Parliament expressed serious concern about the very volatile security situation in the Sea of Azov, which could easily escalate to an open conflict.
As reported, Russia has been blocking ships heading towards the ports of Berdiansk and Mariupol over the past months. Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan stated that Ukraine was negotiating with the EU countries and the United States on imposition of sanctions on Russia in response to the blockade of the Sea of Azov. The U.S. Department of State called Russia's actions in the Sea of Azov an attempt to destabilize Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine made a decision to strengthen the naval presence in the Sea of Azov by creating a naval group there.
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