In order to give close consideration to the situation in regions adjacent to the Azov Sea which have been severely affected by the Russian inspection regime in the Azov Sea the high-level delegation led by Thomas Mayr-Harting, Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia in the European External Action Service and Peter Wagner, Director of the European Commission’s Support Group for Ukraine met with Minister for the Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine Vadym Chernysh.
Mariupol and Berdyansk trade ports are the only ports in the Azov Sea that provide import and export of goods from Eastern and Southeast Ukraine.
Because of the construction of the Kerch Bridge by the Russian Federation (through the Kerch Strait, which provided movement of ships to Ukrainian ports), establishment of technical restrictions for vessels and subsequent periodic blockade of the Kerch Strait, sea ports remained isolated which led to breaking logistics ties and large economic losses for the Azov region.
"Today there exists a number of problematic issues due to the illegal Russia’s actions The illegal construction of the Kerch Strait Bridge itself serves as an effective deterrent to merchant shipping: the main span is only 33 meters in height, thus dozens of vessels can no longer arrive because of the new air draft limit. This negatively affects the entire chain: both terminals and sea ports , as well as ship owners, which have their obligations, and who suffer serious damage due to delays.
Because of the selective principle of the passage of sea vessels, the Russian Federation blocks the work of Mariupol and Berdyansk sea ports. At present, Ukraine has a need to create new logistical chains that would help to reduce economic losses in the Azov region, for example, building a road that will help improve transportation of goods from Mariupol and Berdyansk to other regions of Ukraine, " the Minister stressed.
Vadym Chernysh placed a special emphasis on existing international and Government’s projects aimed at supporting the affected population, and he purposed new tools that can improve the life of the population and give impetus to the region's economic growth and development of public-private cooperation.
At the end of the meeting, representatives of the European delegation expressed support to Ukraine and hopes for fruitful cooperation with the Ministry for the Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons.