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UK bans Russian ships from ports

U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told U.K. ports to deny access to “any Russian flagged, registered, owned, controlled, chartered or operated vessels,” he said today.

“The maritime sector is fundamental to international trade and we must play our part in restricting Russia’s economic interests and holding the Russian government to account,” Shapps wrote in a letter to U.K. ports, calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an “unprovoked, premeditated attack against a sovereign democratic state.” 

The government will “seek to support UK ports in identifying Russian ships within scope of the above, and will communicate directly with relevant ports when we identify ships bound for UK ports who fall within scope of the above,” Shapps also wrote.

The government is preparing “further detailed sanctions against Russian shipping,” he added.

A number of Russian vessels were scheduled to dock at British ports, despite intensifying British sanctions against Russian businesses and state entities.

One Russian-owned tanker had been due to dock at an oil terminal in Orkney, Scotland, on Tuesday. After Orkney’s local authority said it was powerless to prevent the tanker — owned by majority Russian state-owned Sovcomflot — accessing the terminal despite a growing backlash from locals, the devolved Scottish government confirmed it had taken part in discussions with the U.K. government about introducing measures to prevent the ship from docking in Britain.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the move and confirmed it would apply to the Orkney-bound vessel.

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