Ukraine asks Turkey to investigate Russian ships for stolen grain

Ukraine asks Turkey to investigate Russian ships for stolen grain
The Black Sea. Credit: Mostafameraji / Creative Commons

Ukraine has asked Turkey to probe three Russian ships after it alleged that Russia has stolen gain from Russian-occupied areas, reported Reuters on Wednesday.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office asked the Justice Ministry of Turkey to examine and give evidence on the three named ships that it believes have transported stolen grain.

All three dry bulk carriers - Mikhail Nenashev, Matros Pozynich and Matros Koshka - are owned by a subsidiary of the Russian state-owned company United Shipbuilding Corporation. Kyiv accuses these ships of travelling from occupied Crimea's main grain terminal in April and May.

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If it is proven that the now Western-sanctioned United Shipbuilding corporation transported grain from occupied Ukraine areas, it would add to the evidence that Russian state-owned companies are exporting what Kyiv says is stolen cargo.

Turkey seizes Russian ship

In addition, Turkey seized a Russian ship on Tuesday carrying allegedly stolen goods from the Black Sea port Karasu. Turkish authorities went into action after Kyiv said that the ship in question - the Zhibek Zholy - was illegally carrying 7,000 tonnes of grain out of Russian-occupied Berdiansk, from southeastern Ukraine.

Concerns have mounted over global food security, as Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain exporters. However, it has been difficult for Ukraine to export goods with war on its eastern front and southern coast, with many of its ports either in now Russian-occupied territories or blocked by Russian ships at sea. Grain account for nearly a fifth of Ukrainian exports.

Kyiv has accused Russia of stealing grain since the start of Russia's invasion. Russia has denied any wrongdoing.

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