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Kyiv has demanded explanations from Turkey’s envoy over Ankara’s decision to allow the Russian ship Zhibek Zholy to leave the port of Karasu without confiscating its cargo, despite Ukraine’s accusations that it is carrying stolen Ukrainian grain.
“We regret that the Russian ship Zhibek Zholy, which was loaded with stolen Ukrainian grain, was allowed to leave the port of Karasu despite the criminal evidence presented to the Turkish authorities. The ambassador of Turkey in Kyiv will be called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to clarify this unacceptable situation,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said.
Kyiv accuses Moscow of stealing more than 600,000 tonnes of grain from Ukrainian territory it has seized since it launched its invasion of the country in late February, a charge Russia denies.
According to the Reuters news agency, Turkish customs authorities at the request of Ukraine stopped the Russian-flagged cargo ship Zhibek Zholy for inspection on charges of illegally transporting 7,000 tons of grain from the Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk in southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian authorities asked Turkey on June 30 to stop another Russian-flagged ship for the same reason. Turkey has stopped the cargo ship and is investigating its cargo, sources cited by Reuters say.