MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Grain exports are not expected to be affected by tensions between Russia and Ukraine in the Azov Sea because it is low season, Reuters reported, citing the TASS news agency.
“The Azov route is being actively used for Russian grain exports during the river navigation period, so in the autumn-to-winter time, volumes of shipments via this route go down,” TASS quoted the Russian agriculture ministry as saying. “So the current situation (Russia-Ukraine standoff) is not expected to bring any serious changes (to grain exports).”
Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian navy ships on Nov. 25. Russian officials called them “warships” while Ukraine contended they were in international waters.
The Berdyansk and Mariupol Azov Sea ports were essentially under blockade by Russia, Ukraine officials said, because vessels were barred from leaving and entering. Russia denied that claim.
The Ukrainian government has imposed martial law in portions of the country and has banned Russian men between the ages of 16 and 60 from entering Ukraine.
Ukraine’s acting agriculture minister told Reuters that the martial law was not affecting grain shipments from Azov ports so far and they could be diverted to the Black Sea if needed.