A Russian freighter was seized in the English Channel by French authorities.
Authorities said it could belong to a Russian company suspected of violating trade sanctions related to the war in Ukraine.
The Russian embassy in France is asking French authorities for an explanation of the police seizure, the Russian news agency RIA quoted the diplomatic facility as saying.
Captain Véronique Magnin, of the French maritime prefecture, said the ship, which was carrying cars to St. Petersburg, is “strongly suspected of being linked to sanctioned Russian interests.”
The ship was diverted to the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer in northern France between 3 am and 4 am local time, Magnin said.
Customs officials carried out continuous checks and the ship’s crew “cooperated”, it added.
The vessel was named Baltic Leader by the French newspaper La Voix Du Nord, which was the first to report on the seizure.
According to the marinetraffic.com website, the ship sails under the Russian flag.
The company that owns the vessel is owned by a Russian businessman who is on the EU sanctions list, Captain Magnin said.
• Reports of fighting in the cities of Kyiv, Mariupol, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Melitopol and Odessa
• The “bulge” of the Russian forces advancing towards the capital is now 30 km from the city center
• UK, US and EU impose direct sanctions on Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
• No decision has yet been made on Russia’s blocking of the Swift international payment system
• Invasion leading to a refugee crisis with 120,000 Ukrainians fleeing to neighboring countries – UN
• China abstains from the UN Security Council draft resolution on the invasion
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