Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine: France seizes Russian-flagged cargo ship over sanctions

French sea police have impounded a Russian-flagged cargo ship suspected of breaching sanctions imposed because of the Ukraine war.

The ship, the Baltic Leader, was heading from the north-western French city of Rouen to St Petersburg in Russia with a cargo of new cars.

It is being held at the Channel port of Boulogne.

Russian state media say the vessel is owned by a subsidiary of a bank targeted in recent EU and US sanctions.

A regional French official said such a measure was rare, but called it a sign of firmness.

The US Treasury Department has issued blocking sanctions against the vessel, saying it is owned by a subsidiary of Promsvyazbank, one of the Russian financial institutions hit by sanctions.

However, the bank has said it no longer owns the Baltic Leader. It told Reuters news agency that the ship was sold to another firm before the sanctions were imposed.