Cargo at Mariupol seaport, an indicator of Russia’s chokehold on the Azov, increased by 3.5% in January-April 2021,

 compared with volumes of the same period last year. In April, Russia strengthened its naval presence in the Azov and Black Seas, banning non-Russian government vessels from entering the Azov, a bi-national body of water. Despite the intimidation, exports out of Mariupol – largely steel and iron ore – increased by 17%, to 1.84 million tons. Last year, cargo volumes increased by 8.4% at Mariupol, Ukraine’s main port on the Azov.