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Russia Blockades Sea Ports as Ukraine Begs for Help From NATO

Two Ukrainian ports are being blockaded by Russian ships on the Azov Sea, a Ukraine government minister reported Thursday. Overall, 35 ships have been prevented from carrying out normal operations and only vessels moving toward Russian ports on the water are being permitted entry, infrastructure minister Volodymyr Omelyan claimed in a Facebook post. “The goal is simple... by placing a blockade on Ukrainian ports on the Azov Sea, Russia hopes to drive Ukraine out of our own territory—territory that is ours in accordance with all relevant international laws,” he wrote. Meanwhile, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko has urged NATO to send ships to the area “to assist Ukraine and provide security.” Ukraine is not a NATO member, but the trans-Atlantic group has expressed “full support” for the country. “We cannot accept this aggressive policy of Russia,” Poroshenko told Germany’s Bild. “First it was Crimea, then eastern Ukraine, now he wants the Sea of Azov. Germany, too, has to ask itself: What will Putin do next if we do not stop him?”