Ukrainian President Calls for Ban on Russian Ships in European Ports

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called on the EU and the U.S. to ban Russian ships from entering European or American ports over Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, Ukrinform reports.

“Russian vessels should be blocked for entering European or American ports,” Poroshenko said in an interview with Fox News on Saturday.

“We are ready to open the coordination of what type of action should be undertaken immediately,” Poroshenko said.

He said Ukraine acts under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, providing freedom of navigation, and a Ukrainian-Russian agreement, which defines the special status of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov. Both the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov are Ukrainian and Russian waters, the head of state said.

Poroshenko also said that all Russian companies that operate in the Kerch Strait are on the U.S. and EU sanctions lists. In this situation, Russia is opposed to the entire world, he said.

“Russia is blocking the freedom of navigation in Ukrainian territorial waters,” he said.

Russia seized three Ukrainian ships and detained dozens of sailors late last month, creating an international incident in the Azov Sea, with tensions ensuing after fierce protests from the United States and the European Union.

Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said last week that Russia “partially unblocked” the country’s Azov ports, allowing Ukrainian ships to pass thsough the Kerch Strait for the first time since November 25.