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Russia 'partially' unblocks Ukrainian Azov Sea ports: Kiev

AFP  |  Kiev 

has begun allowing some ships to enter Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov, said Tuesday, in what could signal an easing of tensions in the point area.

has accused of blocking merchant vessels from entering and leaving the ports. In late November the situation in the waters escalated when seized three ships and arrested 24 sailors in the first open military conflict between the countries since annexed Crimea in 2014.

"The Berdyansk and ports have been partially unblocked," Ukraine's infrastructure said.

The functioning of the two main Ukrainian ports on the is crucial for the country's exports.

"Ships are coming and going through the towards Ukrainian ports... movement has been partially restored," a statement from the ministry quoted Omelyan as saying.

However, 17 ships were still waiting to enter the and one was waiting to leave, he added. The said he hoped the ports would be fully unblocked in the coming days, and the arrested sailors would be released.

has blamed for halting the movement of dozens of vessels through the narrow strait connecting the and the smaller claimed control of the strait after it annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. put its forces on alert and imposed in its border regions after the military confrontation last month.

An armed conflict in eastern between government forces and Russian-backed separatists has claimed more than 10,000 lives over five years.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, December 04 2018. 17:10 IST