KYIV (QHA) – -

The illegal construction of the bridge across the Kerch Strait by the Russian Federation hinders the implementation of the transport communication between Ukraine and international markets, Marie Yovanovitch, the American ambassador to Ukraine stated.

“Russia's continued construction of the Kerch bridge significantly limits the delivery of cargo to Ukrainian ports on the Azov Sea. These ports are an important gateway for transportation of Ukrainian coal, metal and grain on the way to important international markets,” Yovanovitch stated speaking at the International Conference on Maritime Security on Tuesday, Nov. 28 in Kyiv.

She also pointed out that the illegal annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation led to Ukraine losing 70% of its navy.

The Ambassador went on saying that Russia continues to illegally use Ukraine's gas fields in the Black Sea.

"Russia has seized two Ukrainian gas platforms that continue to operate in the exclusive Ukrainian economic zone, thus continuing the theft of Ukrainian gas," the diplomat reported.

Yovanovitch stressed that Ukrainian border guards and Ukrainian naval forces, as well as the coast guard, continue to work to prevent these challenges and eliminate their consequences.

The Federal Road Agency of the Russian Federation assures that the construction of the bridge across the Kerch Strait, from Russia to Russian-occupied Crimea is completed "by more than 50%".

May 24, Russia announced the restriction of the parameters for the passage of ships from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov and vice versa under the arch of the bridge across the Kerch Strait, which leads to losses in Ukrainian exports.

The administration of the seaports of Ukraine declares a one-third decrease in the cargo flow in the Berdyansk Sea port due to the construction of The Kerch bridge to the Russian-occupied Crimea.

Russia banned the movement across the Kerch Strait to all ships, with the exception of ships and vessels of the Russian Navy, as well as ships and vessels of the federal security agencies of the Russian Federation.

Due to traffic restrictions owing to the construction of the Kerch bridge, the Mariupol port may remain without communication with Asia, Africa and America.

Earlier, Volodymyr Omelyan, the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine stated that the illegal construction of the Kerch bridge must be stopped urgently, and this may be possible only under the pressure of international partners of Ukraine and additional sanctions against Russia.

November 27, Omelyan raised this issue in the General Assembly of the International Maritime Organization.

QHA