Ukraine Says Russia Is Blocking Shipping Traffic

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure says Russia has blocked 35 merchant ships from leaving or entering the Sea of Azov, a claim the Kremlin has denied.

The ministry said 18 ships were stuck in the Black Sea waiting to pass through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov, while another 17 vessels were unable to sail out of Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted that Russian authorities haven’t imposed any restrictions, and that the logjam could be linked to poor weather.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have escalated after the weekend incident in which the Russian coast guard fired on and seized three Ukrainian navy vessels and their crews near the Kerch Strait.

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