Russia's occupying administration has shut down the Kerch ferry service in annexed Crimea over a drop in demand for services to transport railroad cars by sea there.
That is according to the Russian-registered Crimean-based news agency Kryminform, referring to the AnRussTrans ferry operator.
"On September 28, our ferry service handled the last batch of railroad cars . The company has no more orders related to railway transportation. We've decided to halt the operation of the ferry," said Director General of AnRussTrans Vasily Annenkov.
The seaport also stopped working over the halt to the Kerch ferry service.
"As an operator of the Crimean seaport, we cannot continue maintaining the infrastructure and are forced to lay off all our specialists," the agency quoted Annenkov as saying.
According to the publication, about 300 employees have been working at the ferry crossing. Most of them will lose their jobs.
Before Russia's annexation of Crimea, the Kerch ferry, which was opened back in 1954, had carried out border control at Port Krym ("Crimea") and Port Kavkaz ("the Caucasus").
With Russia's occupation of the peninsula, the facility came under U.S. sanctions: the Kremlin used the infrastructure to deploy its troops there.
Russian occupation of Crimea
- Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014 after its troops had occupied the peninsula. An illegal referendum was held for Crimeans to decide on accession to Russia. De-facto Crimean authorities reported that allegedly 96.77% of the Crimean population had voted for joining Russia.
- On March 18, 2014, the so-called agreement on the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to Russia was signed in the Kremlin.
- The West did not recognize the annexation in response to which sanctions against Russia were introduced.
- Ukraine's parliament voted to designate February 20, 2014, as the official date when the temporary occupation of Crimea began.