Kyiv: Russia Allowing Some Ships to Enter Ukrainian Azov Sea Ports

Ukraine says Russia has begun allowing some ships to enter Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov, in what could be a possible sign of easing tensions in the area.

A statement Tuesday attributed to Ukraine Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said the Berdyansk and Mariupol ports have been partially unblocked, adding that ships are coming and going through the Kerch Strait towards Ukrainian ports.

The minister said he hoped the ports would be fully unblocked in the coming days.

Ukraine has blamed Russia for halting the movement of scores of vessels through the narrow strait connecting the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov.

Russia claimed control of the strait after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalated last week when Russian border guards fired on three Ukrainian navy vessels near the Russia-annexed Crimea peninsula. The vessels and their crews were captured.

Ukraine put its forces on alert and imposed martial law in its border regions after the military confrontation.