The Ukrainian government is pushing for sanctions to be placed on Russia’s Black Sea ports in response to Russia’s blockade of the Sea of Azov, Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan said in a broadcast of the TV channel 112 Ukraine.
“We are negotiating with our European and American partners in order to have the corresponding sanctions placed on Russia’s Black Sea ports due to the blockade of the Sea of Azov and the Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov,” the minister said.
He added that “the Russians will pay dearly” for the construction of the Kerch bridge.
“We see that the sanction wave is not decreasing but increasing. The recent revision in US Congress on the expansion of the sanction list and the possibility of recognizing Russia as a country which sponsors terrorism is a more than adequate response to all of Russia’s atrocities. We see that six people from the EU who were involved in the construction of this bridge are already under sanctions,” Omelyan added.
The Ukrainian government claims that Russia’s coast guard is artificially detaining ships passing through the Kerch Strait.
Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service said that the Russian services are “maintaining a strict policy of detaining and inspecting ships” passing through the Kerch Starit. According to the department’s report, since April 30, the Russian intelligence services have been stopping ships on a daily basis to inspect them and identify the crew.
On May 16, the Russian government opened the motorway portion of the Kerch Bridge to light vehicle traffic. The railway portion of the bridge has not yet been built.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that the illegal construction of the Kerch Bridge is further evidence of the Kremlin’s disregard for international law.
The EU and US have criticized the partial opening of the Kerch Bridge between Russian territory and annexed Crimea. Ukraine withdrew from the bridge construction contract with Russia in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea.
On June 18, the Council of Europe extended the sanctions against Russian-annexed Crimea by another year. The restrictions concern persons and companies with branches in the EU, and will remain in effect until June 23, 2019.
On July 18, the ambassadors of EU member states decided to place individual sanctions on 6 people who were involved in the construction of the Kerch Bridge.