Estonia, Belgium and Bulgaria Close Ports to Russian Ships

Russian-flagged ships have been banned from entering EU ports since April 17, with Estonia, Belgium and Bulgaria joining the naval blockade. Earlier, Romania and Italy closed ports to Russian ships.

The case concerns one of the measures of sanctions previously approved by the European Union, according to which restrictions were imposed on ships that replaced the Russian flag with the flags of another country after the Russian intervention in Ukraine on February 24.

Estonian Minister of Economy and Infrastructure Taavi Asa said that the whole of Europe is changing its economic activities and becoming more and more independent from Russia.

“The Kremlin shows no signs of stopping the aggression, so Europe is gradually looking for strategic ways to make the price of war so high for Russia that the prospect of continuing a military offense against Ukraine disappears,” he said.

It is also reported that ships flying the Russian flag will, in exceptional cases, be allowed to enter Estonian ports with the permission of the Police and Border Protection Department, which predetermines the need for assistance.

Bulgarian authorities have also imposed a ban on Russian ships entering their seaports and river ports.

“Access to Bulgarian seaports and river ports is prohibited for all vessels registered under the flag of the Russian Federation,” the republic’s maritime administration said in a statement posted on its portal.

European countries are closing their ports in line with the fifth package of EU sanctions imposed on Russia over its military invasion of Ukraine. As the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Layen said earlier, restrictions on ships should have a negative impact on Russian industry. Many world brands have already left the Russian Federation.