Russian forces seize Port of Berdyansk

The Ukrainian government confirmed on Sunday February 27th that the port of Berdyansk had fallen to Russian forces, although this looked to be a prelude to civil resistance. The mayor of Berdyansk, Oleksandr Svidlo, said that the occupiers had asked him and his administration to continue in their posts, but they had refused.

Svidlo said on Facebook that “some time ago, armed soldiers entered the executive committee building and introduced themselves as soldiers of the Russian army. They informed us that all administrative buildings were under their control and that they were taking control of the executive committee building. Under the control of armed men, I consider this proposal unacceptable, so we, as all members of the operational headquarters, left the building.”

Berdyansk, a small port city of about 100,000 people on the Sea of Azov, is a hub for exports of coal, grain, sunflower-seed oil, iron and other commodities. It is restricted by the navigable dimensions of the Kerch Strait, which limits draft to eight metres, air draft to 33 metres and length to 215 metres.

The nearby port of Mariupol remains under siege.