Ukraine says Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain is detained by Turkey


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KARASU/KYIV – Turkish customs authorities have stopped a Russian cargo ship carrying grain that Ukraine says was stolen, Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey said on Sunday.

Ukraine had previously asked Turkey to detain the Russian-flagged freighter Zhibek Zholy, according to an official and documents seen by Reuters.

Reuters reporters saw the Zhibek Zholy vessel anchored about 1 km from shore and outside Karasu port on Sunday, with no obvious signs of movement on board or by other nearby vessels.

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“We have full cooperation. The ship is currently at the entrance to the port, it has been detained by the customs authorities of Turkey,” Ambassador Vasyl Bodnar told Ukrainian national television.

Bodnar said the ship’s fate would be decided by a meeting of investigators on Monday and that Ukraine hoped for the confiscation of the grain.

Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing grain from territories that Russian forces have seized since the invasion of Moscow began in late February. The Kremlin has previously denied that Russia stole Ukrainian grain.

A Ukrainian Foreign Ministry official, citing information from the Ukrainian Maritime Administration, told Reuters on Friday that Zhibek Zholy, 7,146 dwt, loaded the first shipment of some 4,500 tonnes of Ukrainian grain from Berdyansk, a port occupied by Russia in southern Ukraine.

The region’s Sakarya Port Authority was not immediately available for comment. The Turkish Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Max Hunder in Kyiv, Mehmet Caliskan and Omer Berberoglu in Karasu, and Arza Ceylan in Istanbul; Editing by Toby Chopra and Edmund Blair)



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