Italian ports now off-limits for Russian vessels

Russian vessels that will no longer be able to enter Italian ports include passenger and cargo vessels carrying over 500 gross tonnes and those employed in commercial activities and international shipping. [EPA-EFE/Fabio Muzzi]

Italy has banned Russian-flagged vessels from its ports from Sunday as part of the EU’s fifth sanction package against Russia.

In compliance with the EU directive released on 8 April, the circular from the General Command of the Port Authorities has forbidden entry into Italian ports to Russian-flagged vessels and ships that changed their flag after 24 February in a bid to avoid sanctions.

Russian vessels that will no longer be able to enter Italian ports include passenger and cargo vessels carrying over 500 gross tonnes and those employed in commercial activities and international shipping. Ships anchored in the country will have to leave soon after completing their activities.

Few exceptions are allowed. The circular says that the ban does not apply “in case of a vessel in need of assistance or in case of an urgent port call for maritime safety reasons”, the circular says.

This ban was introduced the same weekend the Italian ambassador returned to Kyiv, reinforcing the country’s position alongside Ukraine. The embassy in Ukraine, which closed on 3 March after Russia’s invasion, hoisted its flag again and will be fully operational from Monday (18 April).

“The reopening of our embassy in Kyiv, more than fifty days after the beginning of the conflict, is for us a symbolic and hopeful moment”, the Italian ambassador in Ukraine, Pier Francesco Zazo, said on Saturday. “Today, we feel even closer to the Ukrainian government and people, and we will continue to assist our compatriots as best we can”, he added.

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