Crimean official says Ukraine’s food blockade of the peninsula has failed

The Russian republic's deputy premier called Crimean Tatar activists initiating the blockade "political clowns".

Ukraine’s food blockade of Crimea has failed and the goal was not attained, the Russian republic's deputy premier told TASS on Thursday.

"The aims pursued by the masterminds of the action have not been reached," Ruslan Balbek said. "Crimea is supplied practically fully from Russia."

Supporters of Crimea’s former deputy prime minister, Lenur Islyamov, and Ukrainian parliament members Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov launched on September 20 what they called a Crimean food blockade to disrupt free passage of trucks carrying food to the peninsula.

The extremist group Right Sector, outlawed in Russia, joined in. Deputy Chubarov has also told media that electricity supply to the peninsula could be restricted shortly. Crimean authorities dismiss these statements as baseless.

"These people have no influence either in Crimea or in Ukraine. They are ordinary political clowns, used by the pro-American government coming to power in Ukraine," Crimea's deputy premier said. "They are used as international provocateurs to justify unwise activity from the Ukrainian government in the eyes of society."

In earlier remarks, Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov described Ukraine’s blockade of the peninsula as cheap comedy: Ukrainian foods accounted for no more than five percent of those on the shelves in Crimean supermarkets, he said, adding that no deficit or price increases had been reported in Crimea due to the move.

Flows of Russian cargo to the peninsula via the Kerch sea ferry link have grown by 15% over the first three days of the blockade.

First published by TASS.

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