: :inin Kyiv (EET)

”Gap in sanctions”: Crimean official announces direct ferry service between Turkey, annexed Crimea

Ruslan Balbek, who was elected to the State Duma in Ukraine-disputed elections held in the annexed Crimea, has announced that Turkey accepts in its port of Zanguldak a direct ferry from the Russian-occupied city of Sevastopol, despite the official non-recognition by the Turkish government of Crimea`s annexation.

”Until November 2015, the Varyag ferry, after departing from Sevastopol, used to arrive in [mainland Russia`s port city of] Novorossiysk, where appropriate shipping documents were issued, and only after that would go to the Turkish port, because the Turkish side woulddid not accept the papers issued in Crimea,” Balbek wrote on Facebook.

Today, a direct ferry connection has been renewed and in November 2016, the Varyag ferry made its first voyage directly from Sevastopol in Zonguldak with documents drawn up in Crimea, the deputy said.

”The Turkish side accepted the papers and provided all the necessary port services. What is this if not a gap in the sanctions blockade? Turkish official accepting for registration the papers filled in Crimea (the territory, which is not recognized by their government), registering cargo, and wishing a happy journey… Moreover, the local newspaper also writes an article about how they are happy about the arrival of the Crimean vessel… Yes, Istanbul is turning a blind eye, making no statements, and officially distancing themselves from Crimea. However, civil servants in Turkey are working with the Crimean company, accepting papers filled in Crimea,” Balbek said.

UNIAN memo. Russia annexed Ukraine`s Crimea in March 2014 after its troops had occupied the peninsula. An illegal referendum was held for Crimeans to decide on accession to Russia.

De-facto Crimean authorities reported that allegedly 96.77% of the Crimean population had voted for joining Russia. On March 18, 2014, the so-called agreement on the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to Russia was signed in the Kremlin.

The West did not recognize the annexation in response to which sanctions against Russia were introduced.


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