Almost 70 vessels stuck at Ukrainian ports, say officials

KYIV, Ukraine

Nearly 70 vessels are stuck at Ukrainian ports, with six foreign-flagged ships blocked in Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said on Friday.

“Currently, almost 70 vessels are blocked in ports from which it is impossible to navigate. The worst situation with the crews was in Mariupol, because in other ports the crews had the opportunity to evacuate by land,” Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Yuriy Vaskov said at a news briefing.

Igor Barsky, director of the Mariupol port, said some of the six foreign-flagged ships stuck in Mariupol will “not be able to leave without proper repairs.”

The repairs, however, are very difficult because the Mariupol shipyard itself has also been “practically destroyed,” he added.

The strategic port city of Mariupol has been largely destroyed by Russian forces, who are pushing to form a land link between areas under Russian control in eastern Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014.

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara

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