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Ports ‘suffocated’ in the Sea of Azov, a new front in the battle of Russia and Ukraine

The incident has set back the conflict on the board in a geopolitical international, where those days have gone on to be one of the topics on the table of the G

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Ports ‘suffocated’ in the Sea of Azov, a new front in the battle of Russia and Ukraine

The incident has set back the conflict on the board in a geopolitical international, where those days have gone on to be one of the topics on the table of the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires. “I've worked for less, so I've only received part of the salary, about 400 euros, and the previous month was only a little better. Russia we're drowning,” says Vasilovich in a coffee Mariúpol. The port, which has been declared a facility-restricted and high security, this was Friday stopped.


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Since Russia ended in march, the bridge over the strait of Kerch, which connects Crimea (the peninsula that was annexed in 2014) with the Russian territory, the traffic towards the ports of ukraine on the Azov Sea has been reduced. Many vessels high or large tonnage cannot go under, as has been documented by a report of the European Parliament. And to this are added the long process of registration by the coast guard and russians often put to many boats that are going to charge Mariúpol or Berdiansk, facilities key to the economy of ukraine by the country (44 million inhabitants) exports 25% of its trade in metals and 5% of the grain. Records that are not comparable to those that pass the boats that go to the Russian ports, according to the report of the european Parliament. Russia claims that the inspections are routine and that any delay —have come to be of up to ten days— due to the weather.

Moscow, point out several analysts, is using its presence in the waters of the sea of Azov to weaken the economy of ukraine. “Is harassment. To deter firms and that they go to other ports. We are choking,” laments Marina Pereshivailova, one of the leaders of the Union of Workers of the port of Mariúpol, which has about 3,000 employees. “For each day standing in a ship loses more than € 10,000. There will come a time in the not them out has come,” says worried. The union of 54 years, points out that with the decline of the installation their workers are at risk due to which Kiev has called “blocking Russian”. According to their calculations, the port of Mariúpol not lose money, but is now operating with zero profits. A couple of weeks more so, without boats or with boats coming in as a slow drip, can be a catastrophe, says Pereshivailova.

The minister of Infrastructure, Ukrainian, Volodimir Omelyan, said on Thursday that there are 18 vessels blocked by Moscow not able to enter the sea channel. And so many others without power going out, he said. To the last hour of this Holiganbet Saturday, the website of marine traffic showed that at least five vessels with destination Mariúpol or Berdianks, waiting in the funnel of the strait of Kerch. The loss of a total blockade can be overcome by 2,000 million dollars, according to estimates from different studies. “What is happening not only to us hurts us. It affects all the metallurgical industry, which employs about 40,000 people, and the land,” says Pereshivailova, waving his half-silver mane. Industry ukraine has lost also an important part of his production to take the separatist pro-Russian mining regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

expand photo Igor Vasilovich, a worker in the Port of Mariúpol, in front of two Tetrapods used to prevent the passage of tanks, the Friday. M. A. S.

in Front of the trade union, in an area of the city, resting on the frozen ground three large blocks of concrete with four legs. Tetrapods that were placed on the port by 2015, when the city of half a million inhabitants became a land of open war between troops Ukrainian and the rebels pro-Russian, were employed to prevent the passage of tanks. Today they are decorated with flowers. Although neither Vasilovich rule out that it may again be useful. Mariúpol takes four years in the first line of the battle with the separatists of the self-proclaimed Republic of Donetsk, who are receiving support from Moscow.

The port city, the war has become the most important of the region, is, in addition, a complex core: home to a good number of internally displaced persons from the conflict, but it also has a part of its population affinity prorrusa. “Some of my family, many of my relatives are... Now no one wants to talk about politics, or brought by fear of reprisals from one side to the other. And at least since the declaration of martial law,” says Pável, an accountant who prefers not to give her last name. After the incident of the sailors, the authorities have declared a “state of war” in ten regions Ukrainian border with Russia; one of them is that he belongs to Mariúpol. Something that, according to Moscow, can stimulate the conflict in the republics separatists. It has also restricted the entry of Russian citizens in the age of combat.

“The open front is just 20 kilometers from here. Once in a while you hear any explosion. Now everything can be turned back on, and this time they may get there by sea”, considered Vasilovich. And a couple of miles from her home, is still observed in the gaps that the explosions caused in a building of the city Administration. Still has not been repaired, says the man, who before working in the port, was a professor of Physical Education. Believes that, as his age and given the situation, if things get worse, you are not going to find another job.

on the outskirts of the city, in one of the gray buildings and some dilapidated, a group of volunteers and veterans has installed a sort of center of coordination for the fight open again to the streets. “If it ends up producing a Russian invasion,” explains the former military man Sergei Ermolenko. The activist Galina Odnorog, asserts that the danger you feel each day. “Russia is trying to be done with the Sea of Azov. And wants to devour Mariúpol and Berdiansk, as he did Simferopol, in the Crimea,” he says. Now that the bridge over the Kerch, Moscow controls both banks, the next chapter is to control the two ports on Ukrainian strategic points Odnorog. Points in the Army Ukrainian is building in addition to two major naval bases. “Now, after that apresaran of our sailors, we can say that the sea has been captured. But we'll be here, waiting,” ditch the activist.

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