Ukraine’s ambassador in Ankara, Vasyl Bodnar, has accused Russia of stealing and exporting Ukrainian grain, mainly to Turkey, Belga News Agency reports.
“Russia is shamelessly stealing cereals from Ukraine and exporting them through Crimea, namely to Turkey,” Bodnar tweeted on Friday. “We have asked Turkey for help in resolving the problem.”
Speaking on the 100th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ambassador also gave an overview of the losses suffered by his country and the damage wrought by the Russian army there.
Just before the outbreak of war, Ukraine was in the process of becoming the world’s third largest exporter of wheat and accounted singlehandedly for half of all global trade in grain and sunflower oil.
Turkey is considered an ally of Ukraine, which it supplies with combat drones, but Ankara also takes care to maintain a neutral stance towards Russia, on which it depends for energy and cereal supplies, so that it can serve as a mediator between the two countries.
At the request of the United Nations, Turkey has offered its assistance in keeping sea corridors safe so that Ukrainian cereals can be exported.
Russian Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov is scheduled to travel to Ankara on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
Before the war, Kyiv exported 12% of the world’s wheat, 15% of its maize and 50% of its sunflower oil each month.
Since the outbreak of the conflict, its exports have been blocked in silos due to the blockading of Ukrainian ports by the Russian navy and mines in the Black Sea. As a result, global prices of agricultural goods have skyrocketed, threatening countries that depend on imported grains with famine, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.