RIGA - The Latvian government and other two Baltic states plan to decide on bans on Russian ships to enter their ports, Transport Minister Talis Linkaits (Conservatives) said in an interview with commercial TV3 on Monday.
In his words, despite the sanctions imposed on Russian and Belarusian companies, "the cargo movement is happening, therefore operations of ports has not been affected significantly. The most pessimistic scenarios though provide that cargo drop in Ventspils port might reach about two thirds, in Riga - 45 percent and in Liepaja - 20-30 percent".
The Transport Ministry has called on port administrations not to receive ships with Russian flags, but the ports are not listening to such calls now.
"Ships with Russian flags are still entering Latvian ports, which is not acceptable, therefore the government is planning to adopt respective regulations," said Linkaits.
"We were hoping for a joint EU decision. We see that there are countries which are strongly against it, therefore, obviously, this will be a regional decision," said Linkaits.
Lithuanian Transport Minister Marius Skuodis said on Thursday that with the European Union being too slow to ban Russian ships from the bloc's ports, a regional decision to do so may be made.
"If these discussions go on for an impossibly long time, it seems to me that this will be a regional step," he told the Ziniu Radijas radio station.
He said that Lithuania could impose a national ban on Russian ships to enter its seaport of Klaipeda, but such a measure requires a broader agreement among countries to be effective.
In the wake of the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine, the EU is considering closing the bloc's ports to vessels sailing under the Russian flag or otherwise connected to the country or to individuals and businesses linked to it.