A Russian Cargo ship has been seized by French sea police officers.

Known as the Baltic leader, the Russian vessel had set sail from Rouen before being stopped in the English channel; and routed to Boulogne-sur-Mer.

According to Captain Veronique Magnin of the French Maritime Prefecture, the Baltic Leader is ‘strongly suspected of being linked to Russian interests targeted by the sanctions’.

Magnin also stated that the ship was owned by a Russian company suspected of trade sanctions violation; with ties to the Ukraine crisis.

The ship which reaches up to 130 metres in length, was carrying cars to St Petersburg and was seen sailing with a Russian flag. It started off at Rouen in Normandy but was intercepted at Honfleur before being moved to its current location. This occurred at the early hours of 3 to 4a.m local time.

Magnin further confirmed that maritime officials were given the go-ahead to retain any vessel suspected of violating the latest sanctions; and that checks are being carried out by custom officials on the vessel—which could last for up to two days.

The cargo’s interception has been viewed as a response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine; with more than 100,000 refugees departing the nation since the Russian invation began. This is according to United Nations statistics.

Fightings have also been reported in cities of Kyiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv and others in the past twenty-four hours.

Further reports show that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister will be hammered with frozen European assets; after an agreement by the European Union on Friday.

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