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UKRAINE

Danish shipping giant Maersk to stop deliveries to Russian ports

Shipping giant Maersk said on Tuesday that it would stop taking new non-essential orders to and from Russia, due to sanctions imposed over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Maersk headquarters in Copenhagen.
Maersk headquarters in Copenhagen. The shipping giant is to stop deliveries to Russian ports following Moscow'a invasion of Ukraine. File photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Citing the impact of sanctions, “bookings to and from Russia will be temporarily suspended, with exception of Foodstuffs, Medical and Humanitarian supplies”, Maersk said in a statement.

The Danish company, one of the world’s leading container haulers, added it would attempt to honour bookings placed prior to the sanctions. 

Maersk said the suspension would “cover all Russian gateway ports until further notice”.

The company said the exceptions were to “underline” a focus on “social responsibility” and  “efforts to support the society despite all the complications and uncertainties” with current supply chains to and from Russia.

“We will keep monitoring the situation and reviewing impacts from sanctions to return our offering in Russia back to normal as soon as we are able to ensure stability and safety of our operations via Russian seaports,” the company added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday called for a ban on Russia from “all ports, all canals and all the world’s airports”.

The Danish giant, which is tied with Italy’s MSC for the world’s largest container shipping company, had already stopped all shipping to Ukraine because of the security situation.

Maersk’s announcement follows other Nordic companies limiting their operations in Russia.

On Monday, Swedish truck maker Volvo said it was stopping sales and halting production at its Kaluga plant, and telecoms giant Ericsson also said it would halt deliveries to Russian clients.

More than 350 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed during the invasion, according to Ukraine, while more than a half a million people have fled the country.

READ ALSO: Danish supermarket company stops selling Russian products

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UKRAINE

UPDATED: Denmark’s government supports Ukraine EU candidacy 

Denmark’s government has said it will support Ukraine’s bid for EU membership after the European Commission deemed the country’s candidacy viable.

UPDATED: Denmark's government supports Ukraine EU candidacy 

Ukraine’s bid to be part of the EU got a majority backing in Danish Parliament on Friday after the European Commission backed the bid.

“It is really, really important that Europe opens the door for Ukraine, so that we can get started to ensure that Ukraine can be ready for EU membership,” foreign affairs spokesperson Michael Aastrup told newswire Ritzau.

Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Twitter that Denmark was looking forward to continuing cooperation with Ukraine on reforms.

The possibility for Ukraine to become part of the EU is conditional on Ukraine implementing reforms – on rule of law, oligarchs, human rights and tackling corruption – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday. She added that “good work has been done.”

Candidacy status is a significant step to joining the EU but the whole process can take years.

“When a candidate’s status is granted, it is not the same as Ukraine being ready to join the EU. There are a large number of criteria to be met and there are a large number of outstanding ones that Ukraine lacks. These are some of the things that are being addressed”, Michael Aastrup said.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will attend a meeting in Brussels next week where the recommendation from the European Commission will be voted and signed off by the EU’s 27 member states. France, Germany and Italy have also already backed Ukraine’s bid but the decision has to be unanimous.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has said that status as a candidate for EU membership is vital to his country, while the country’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has said the question could be decisive in the war to defend Ukraine from invasion by Russia.

READ MORE: Number of Ukrainian refugees working in Denmark triples in one month

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