Ukraine summons Turkish ambassador over ‘stolen’ grain


Ukraine has summoned the Turkish ambassador accusing Turkey for allowing a Russian-flagged ship carrying what it has claimed was thousands of tonnes of stolen Ukrainian grain to leave its port in Karasu, reported The Guardian.

“We regret that Russia’s ship Zhibek Zholy, which was full of stolen Ukrainian grain, was allowed to leave Karasu port despite criminal evidence presented to the Turkish authorities,” said the foreign ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko.

“Turkey’s ambassador in Kyiv will be invited to Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs to clarify this unacceptable situation.”

According to the media outlet, Turkish customs officials had seized the vessel at Ukraine’s request on Tuesday, after Kyiv claimed the cargo was illegally transporting 7,000 tonnes of grain out of Russian-occupied Berdyansk, a Ukrainian port in the south-east of the country.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, confirmed that the ship was Russian-flagged, but appeared to muddy the waters while claiming the Kremlin was seeking clarity.

“The ship really is Russian-flagged, but I think it belongs to Kazakhstan and the cargo was being carried on a contract between Estonia and Turkey,” Lavrov told reporters on Monday.

Meanwhile Ukraine, one of the world's major suppliers of grain,  has accused Russia of stealing over 600,000 tonnes of grain from occupied Ukrainian territories to sell on international markets.