Russia ends Ukraine's blockade of Crimea

Crimea has been blockaded since 2014 when Russia illegally annexed the territory. 

 Russian Navy vessels are anchored in a bay of the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea May 8, 2014 (photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER/FILE PHOTO)
Russian Navy vessels are anchored in a bay of the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea May 8, 2014
(photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER/FILE PHOTO)

Officials in Russian-controlled Crimea said Thursday that they will begin restoring traffic via formerly Ukraine-held territory, ending an eight-year Ukrainian blockade of Crimea, The Moscow Times reported.

“The transportation blockade of Crimea imposed by Ukrainian nationalists eight years ago is a thing of the past… the process of restoring freight and passenger service has begun,” Crimean official Oleg Kryuchkov told Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency. 

Crimea has been blockaded since 2014 when Russia illegally annexed the territory after protests led to the removal of Pro-Russian President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych from office. 

 A Russian navy vessel is anchored on the day of the first anniversary of the Crimean treaty signing in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, March 18, 2015. (credit: MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS) A Russian navy vessel is anchored on the day of the first anniversary of the Crimean treaty signing in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, March 18, 2015. (credit: MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS)
 

The lifting of the blockade is not the only measure intended to stabilize Crimea under Russian control. Ukraine’s GUR (Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine) reported that an advisor of Crimea information policy head Oleg Kryuchkov announced a comprehensive integration plan on May 1st – with a deadline of at least 2030 to further integrate the region.

Russia has appointed local governments to carry out and implement initiatives. For instance, the Russian military has organized press tours in captured cities and state media has published footage of Russian National Guard troops patrolling their streets, according to The Moscow Times.

In the southern port city of Henichesk, Kherson Oblast, the newly appointed City Councilmember organized a solemn raising of the Russian flag, while businesses in the Rostov region received orders to produce seals and stamps for the Russian administrations of Mariupol, according to the GUR.