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Embassy of Ukraine in Ankara: Turkey is among the countries buying Russian stolen grain from Ukraine

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According to the quoted source, Vasyl Bodnar also told reporters that he had asked for help from the Turkish authorities and from Interpol, which is investigating who is involved in the transport of cereals transiting Turkish waters.

Russian forces have reopened the port of Mariupol after completely occupying the city and clearing the surrounding waters.

According to Reuters on Thursday, the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut said that Russia had sent about 100,000 tons of wheat stolen from Ukraine since invading the country, calling the shipments “criminal activity.”

In a statement to Reuters, the embassy said the shipments included one carried by the Russian-flagged Matros Pozynich, which landed in Syria’s main seaport, Latakia, in late May.

Maritime traffic data showed that wheat was loaded on the Matros Pozynich ship in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, leaving the port on May 19 and the place of unloading was Syria.

Satellite images show that on May 29 the same ship docked in Latakia.

At the same time, the Ukrainian Embassy in Lebanon, citing Ukrainian law enforcement, claims that the grain on board the Matros Pozynich was “stolen” from Ukrainian warehouses in areas newly occupied by Russian forces.

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Russia’s defense ministry and Syria’s intelligence ministry have not responded to Reuters’ request. Russia has previously denied allegations of theft of wheat from Ukraine.

The embassy said more than 100,000 tons of “stolen” Ukrainian wheat had arrived in Syria in the past three months. With international wheat prices exceeding $ 400 per tonne, such a volume would be worth more than $ 40 million.

Reuters could not independently verify the Ukrainian allegations.

In a statement last month, the Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture said that about 500,000 tons of wheat had been stolen from the occupied regions of the country since the beginning of the invasion. The grain was shipped either to Russia, primarily from the Kharkov, Donetsk and Lugansk regions, or to Crimea from the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, the ministry added.

In April, the Kremlin denied the allegations, saying it did not know where the information came from.

Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko was quoted by Interfax news agency on May 25 as saying that Russia strongly denies Western media reports about the theft of grain from Ukraine: “We are not stealing anything from anyone.”

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However, the Russian-controlled Kherson region of Ukraine has begun exporting grain to Russia, TASS news agency reported, citing Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the pro-Russian military-civilian administration, earlier this week.

In early May, Russia announced plans to increase wheat exports this year due to a 130 million-ton grain crop in 2022, including a record 87 million tons of wheat.

“Russia currently expects to harvest 130 million tons of grain by 2022, including 87 million tons of wheat,” Russian leader Vladimir Putin told a meeting of senior economic officials.

According to the quoted source, Russia produced a record grain harvest of 133.5 million tons in 2020, including 85.9 million tons of wheat. The harvest was smaller in 2021.

“If this happens, which we are counting on to happen, it could be a record (in terms of wheat harvest) in the history of Russia,” Putin said. The official did not provide an estimate of the export figures at the time.

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