"I would like to thank the Parliament for keeping a strong focus on the security situation around the Black Sea, after the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula. We do not and we will not recognise the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula to the Russian Federation," Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said at the European Parliament plenary session on the situation in the Sea of Azov.
According to her, Russia's current actions in the Sea of Azov constitute another violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"The construction of the Kerch Bridge between the Crimean peninsula and the Russian Federation took place without Ukraine's consent, and it constitutes another violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. On top of that, the bridge hinders the passage of vessels to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea," Mogherini noted.
She reminded that six months ago Russia had started to apply a new inspection regime for cargo vessels coming from Ukraine's ports in the Azov Sea or heading towards them.
"These inspections lead to long delays, which have increased dramatically over the past months. This has direct consequences on shipping costs, not only for Ukrainian exporters, but also for vessels flying a European Union Member State's flag," Mogherini underscored, noting that so far more than 200 vessels under both Ukrainian and international flags have been affected by these controls by Russia, which in some cases lasted several days.
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