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17 Apr, 2022 18:48

EU state bans Russian ships

Bulgaria has forbidden Russian vessels from using its ports, following the lead of Italy and Romania
EU state bans Russian ships

Bulgaria on Sunday banned Russian-flagged ships from its ports, a day after Italian and Romanian authorities did the same. The bans, which are in line with the EU’s latest round of anti-Russia sanctions, also apply to vessels that changed their registration after Moscow launched its military offensive in Ukraine.

“All vessels registered under Russian flag, as well as all vessels that have switched their Russian flag, or flag or maritime register registration to any other state whatsoever after Feb. 24, are forbidden access to Bulgarian maritime and river ports,” read a notice on the website of the country’s maritime administration, dated Thursday.

As of Sunday, Russian ships will also be barred from ports in Italy and Romania. Both countries released statements on Saturday mirroring the text of the Bulgarian announcement. Other countries implemented bans earlier, with Ireland announcing its own port closure last Monday, and the UK – which is not in the EU – banning Russian shipping in early March.

The closure of all EU ports to Russian ships was stipulated in the bloc’s latest round of sanctions against Russia announced earlier this month. Exceptions to the ban will be made for ships in distress or seeking humanitarian assistance, or vessels transporting energy products, food, or medical supplies to the EU.

Eu airspace has also been off limits to Russian planes since late February, and Russia has responded to this ban by shutting its own airspace to EU aircraft. This has forced operators to make costly detours on routes to Asia. 

EU officials are currently preparing a sixth round of sanctions on Russia, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the German tabloid Bild on Sunday. She said that the new penalties would target Russia’s banking sector and may include restrictions on the import of Russian oil.