French police seize Russian cargo ship in English Channel
A ship that could belong to a Russian company suspected of violating trade sanctions was seized by French sea police in the early hours of this morning, according to reports by Reuters.
The ship was diverted to the French port of Boulogne-sur-Mer between 2am and 3am, said Captain Veronique Magnin of the French Maritime Prefecture, adding ongoing checks were being carried out by customs officials.
The French authorities told the BBC that the cargo ship was bound for the Russian city of St Petersburg.
“A 127 meters long Russia cargo ship called the ‘Baltic Leader’ transporting cars has been intercepted overnight by the French Navy in the Channel and escorted to the Port of Boulogne-Sur-Mer in Northern France,” the official said.
“It has been taken to the French port after a request by the French government because it is suspected of belonging to a company targeted by EU sanctions against Moscow. French boarder forces are currently investigating the cargo ship. Crew aboard the ‘Baltic Leader’ has been cooperating with French authorities.”
Russia’s RIA news agency reported that the Russian embassy in France was seeking explanations about the seizure,.
It comes as Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said this morning that French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had supported cutting off Russia from the global SWIFT payment system in a phone conversation with him.
France was also ready to supply weapons and military equipment to Ukraine, Kuleba wrote on Twitter.