STOCKHOLM, March 23. /TASS/. The Russian ship Swem carrying a cargo of fertilizers has been detained in the Finnish port of Kotka on suspicion of violating EU sanctions on Russia, Finland’s Yle television channel reported on Wednesday.
"In cooperation with the authorities, we found that the cargo includes fertilizers probably belonging to a person included in the EU sanctions list. According to EU rules, the assets must be frozen in case of detection," said Pia Sarivaara, the leader of the sanctions team at the Finnish Foreign Ministry.
The vessel is presently outside the port and is waiting for permission from the Finnish government to continue its voyage. According to the official, the ship will be allowed to leave Finnish waters if it’s heading to a third country and its cargo is required for food production.
The Kotka port CEO, Kimmo Naski, said this is the first time a cargo ship has been detained in Finnish ports on suspicion of violating EU sanctions. According to unofficial data, there may be up to 20,000 tons of fertilizers on board. The value of cargo in the world market could range from 10 million to 12 million euros.
Agreements to export food from Ukraine were signed on July 22, 2022 in Istanbul to last 120 days and were extended for another 120 days in November. One of the agreements sets forth a procedure for the export of grain from Kiev-controlled ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny. Russia and the UN also concluded a memorandum for the UN to work toward lifting the restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to world markets. Russia has said the memorandum hasn’t been fulfilled.
Last Saturday, amid reports from the parties to the grain deal that it was allegedly extended for yet another 120 days, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS that Russia had agreed to extend the grain deal only for 60 days. Earlier, following the talks in Geneva, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin noted that time would be sufficient for an objective assessment of how the UN implements its assurances to ensure the unblocking of exports of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to the world market.