MOSCOW, April 29. /TASS/. Ukrainian nationalists are still holding citizens of five countries as "a human shield," while 75 vessels from 17 countries remain stranded in Ukrainian ports, Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, chief of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, told reporters on Friday.
"Ukrainian nationalists continue to hold hostage 90 foreigners from five states as a human shield. Moreover, 75 foreign vessels from 17 states continue to be blocked in seven ports (Kherson, Nikolayev, Chernomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa, Yuzhny and Mariupol). The threat of shelling and a high threat of mines caused by official Kiev in its internal and territorial waters bar the ships from sailing unhindered to the open sea," he said.
The colonel-general said that the Russian Armed Forces daily open a humanitarian sea route from 08.00 a.m. to 07.00 p.m. Moscow time. The route is a safe lane in the southwestern direction from Ukraine’s territorial waters, which is 80 nautical miles long and three nautical miles wide. Messages in English and Russian are broadcast daily every 15 minutes on VHF international radio channels 14 and 16 to inform about it.
"The Kiev authorities are still shunning cooperation with representatives of the foreign states and ship-owning companies in resolving the issue of the safe exit of the blocked foreign vessels to the meeting area," he stressed.