MOSCOW: Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov on Wednesday said the port of Mariupol has been completely cleared of mines and has fully returned to its normal operations, reports TASS.
"Measures to clear mines and to demilitarise the seaport of Mariupol - liberated from Ukrainian militants - in the Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR], have been completed and the port has gone back to its regular operational activities," he informed.
Russian personnel have also cleared approach canals and internal water areas of sunken vessels and other navigational obstacles, in addition to demilitarizing the port.
Russia’s field engineers have also thoroughly demined the coastline of the Sea of Azov adjacent to the Mariupol seaport.
The situation at the line of engagement in Donbass escalated on February 17. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) reported the most massive bombardments by the Ukrainian military in recent months, which damaged civilian infrastructure and caused civilian casualties.
On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced recognising the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Russia recognized the Donbass republics in accordance with the DPR and LPR constitutions within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as of the beginning of 2014.
Russian President Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine.