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German Cruise Liner Docks in Crimea Despite Ukraine's Opposition

A bay off the coast of the Crimean town of Yalta.

A German-operated cruise liner has traveled to the Crimean port of Yalta in apparent defiance of the Ukrainian government, which has prohibited international vessels from calling at the Black Sea peninsula.

The "Ocean Majesty" docked in the port of Yalta last Wednesday and stayed for a day, while tourists disembarked to stroll through the city or venture further into the peninsula, German broadcaster reported Sunday.

Most of the 500 tourists aboard the "Ocean Majesty," which is owned by a Greek shipping company but chartered by Germany's Bremen-based Hansa Touristik, are likely to be German, the report said.

The docking comes after the Ukrainian government in June issued a directive "On the Closure of Sea Ports," according to which the Crimean ports of Kerch, Theodosia, Sevastopol, Yalta and Yevpatoria have been closed to international vessels.

In line with its own sanctions over Russia's annexation of Crimea, the EU has subjected the Sevastopol and Kerch commercial ports to asset freezes, though the port of Yalta does not appear on its blacklist.       

The German operator Hansa Touristik was unavailable for comment as of Sunday, NDR reported.

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