Western sanctions: Which EU commercial ships still go to Russian-occupied Crimea?

16:02 Oct. 7, 2016

Which EU commercial ships still go to Russian-occupied Crimea?

A ferry leaves port along the Kerch Strait on March 21, 2014 near the town of Port Krym, Crimea, Ukraine. (GettyImages Photo)

Monitoring group Maidan of Foreign Affairs and BlackSeaNews in cooperation with Ukraine Today presented an analysis of the effect of sanctions on Russian occupational administration in Crimea

Private commercial vessels from several EU states reportedly still go to the seaports of Russian-occupied Crimea, in a blow to the international sanctions prohibiting any interaction with the peninsula. 

This is according to a report assessing the effectiveness of maritime restrictions against Crimea, imposed by the West after the annexation. 

On our site you can read Ukraine Today's analysis of the revealed data or full version of the report. Also we present the full database on 'violator' vessels by country.

The report claims that two commercial vessels under the flag of EU and NATO member Bulgaria were seen visiting Crimean ports in 2016. However, the ships belong to Russian oil company Lukoil.

‘It's very difficult for Bulgarian government to find legal instruments to deal with those violators, especially because of the dependence of the Bulgarian economy on Russian supplies', Chief of Maidan of Foreign Affairs Bohdan Yaremenko told Ukraine Today. 

Read also: How painful are maritime sanctions on Russia-occupied Crimea?

According to the analyst, there are also two vessels with the flags of ‘third countries' that enter Constanta port in Romania and a port in Crimea. The analyst says the ships deliver metal, ‘working for metallurgy industry in Turkey in Romania'. At the same time the analysts praise both the Romanian government and the country's civil society for their efforts to address the violations.

‘There are several Greek vessels, owned by the Greeks but not operating under the Greek flag, that are involved in illegal grain export from Sevastopol and Kerch. The grain is exported to countries in Northern Africa or Asia, like Egypt or Syria. I think the (Greek – UT) government has neither mechanisms, nor desire (to do anything about it – UT)', chief editor of Blackseanews.net Andriy Klymenko said in an interview with Ukraine Today.

Read also: Maritime sanctions for Crimea made huge gap in Russian trading fleet – analyst

‘We believe Greece to be the most difficult country to work with, considering the political situation in Greece and the general attitude of the Greek government towards Russia. We are probably speaking about some sympathy or the ability to cooperate with the Russians from a part of the Greek government', Yaremenko added.

Overall, 126 ships from 14 countries have anchored in Crimea in the first 8 months of 2016, including 89 vessels under Russia flag, the report says.

Read also: Crimean seaports ditched by international cruise liners – analyst

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