The Ukrainian agriculture ministry announced on Monday that the country’s four Black and Azov sea ports, which were occupied by Russian forces, have been formally shuttered.
The Azov Sea ports of Mariupol, Berdiansk, and Skadovsk, as well as the Black Sea port of Kherson, have been shuttered “until control is restored,” according to the ministry.
“The inability of servicing ships and passengers, carrying out freight, transportation, and other relevant economic activities, while ensuring the appropriate level of navigational safety,” it stated.
As a result of the Russian invasion in late February, all Ukrainian seaports have ceased operations. Some ports were taken by Russian soldiers, while others were blocked.
Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, stated on Monday that Russia’s control of Black Sea shipping could result in the loss of tens of millions of tonnes of grain, sparking a food catastrophe that would affect Europe, Asia, and Africa.
“Russia controls the Black Sea and does not allow ships to get in or out,” Zelenskiy told the Australian TV program 60 Minutes.
“Russia wants to utterly shut down the economy of our country.”
Russia’s engagement in Ukraine is referred to as a “special operation” aimed at disarming Ukraine and protecting it from fascists. The allegations of fascism are unfounded, according to Ukraine and the West, and the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.
Ukraine, a significant agricultural producer, used to export the majority of its goods by sea, but has been forced to move to rail exports via its western border or small Danube river ports.
Ukraine’s grain exports in the 2021/22 July-June season were 45.709 million tonnes, according to the government.
The number included 763,000 tonnes exported in April, but no comparable figures were provided. Ukraine exported 300,000 tonnes of grain in March, according to senior agriculture officials.