Kiev official says the Zhibek Zholy loaded 4,500 tons of Ukrainian grain at the Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk.
Ukraine has requested Turkey to detain the Russian-flagged freighter Zhibek Zholy carrying grain brought from the Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk, according to a Ukrainian official and a document accessed by the Reuters news agency.
The official of Ukraine’s foreign ministry, citing information from the country’s maritime administration, said the Zhibek Zholy had loaded the first cargo of about 4,500 tons of grain from Berdyansk, which the official said was from Ukraine.
In a June 30 letter to the Turkish Ministry of Justice, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office said separately that the Zhibek Zholy was involved in the “illegal export of Ukrainian grain” from Berdyansk and was en route to Karasu, Turkey, with 7,000 tons of cargo – a larger cargo than stated by the official.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters about the arrival of the Zhibek Zholy.
Kazakhstan-based KTZ Express confirmed that the Zhibek Zholy was owned by the company, but said it had been taken under a bareboat charter by Russian company Green Line, which had not been designated under any sanctions.
KTZ Express added that it consulted the concerned parties and would abide by all sanctions and restrictions.
Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing grain from the areas Russian troops have occupied since the invasion began in late February. The Kremlin has denied that Russia stole Ukrainian grain.
Kiev’s ambassador to Ankara, Vasily Bodnar, said in early June that Turkish buyers were among those who received grain that Russia stole from Ukraine, adding that he had enlisted Turkey’s help in identifying individuals responsible for the alleged shipments. and arrest.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said last month that Ankara was investigating the claims, but the probes had not found any stolen shipments so far.
Ukraine and the West have accused Moscow of arming food supplies. Russia says Ukrainian mines at sea and international sanctions against Moscow are to blame.
The conflict in Ukraine has fueled a global food crisis, prompting the United Nations to launch a plan to reopen shipping routes from Odessa and other Ukrainian ports.
Turkey has pledged to help set up a protected corridor in the Black Sea to allow Ukraine to export its products.
Critics fear that Russia will use the corridor to launch an attack on the strategic port of Odessa.