A Russian freighter seized by French officials in the English Channel

The ‘Baltic Leader’ is believed to be owned by Promsvyazbank, one of Russia’s major UK and EU sanctioned banks.

The ship was seized by the French authorities on Saturday morning and taken to the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Captain Véronique Magnin of the French maritime prefecture said the ship was suspected of violating sanctions linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The 130-meter-long ship left Rouen on February 19 in Normandy and was intercepted near Honfleur on the north coast, the captain said.

The Russian cargo ship “Baltic Leader” is seen on February 26, 2022 in the commercial port of Boulogne-sur-Mer, France.

/ Getty Images

The ship was scheduled to reach St. Petersburg on March 3.

The EU announced sanctions against Rossiya Bank and VEB, while on Friday the UK, EU, US and Canada froze the assets of Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov .

European leaders have also agreed on a series of sanctions targeting 70% of Russian banks.

The bloc also limited Russia’s access to semiconductor technology and banned the sale of planes and equipment to state airlines.

EU leaders are also considering removing Russia from the Swift financial messaging system, which is used by up to 11,000 banks around the world.

Sports leagues have also sought to punish Russia, and even the popular Eurovision Song Contest banned Russian acts during the event’s final in May in Italy.

Poland are refusing to play their World Cup qualifier against Russia next month in response to the invasion.

Russia was also stripped of hosting the Champions League final by UEFA, with Saint Petersburg replaced by Paris, and Formula 1 scrapped this season’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi in September.