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Tags: russia | ukraine | turkey | grain

Report: Russia Transporting Confiscated Grain to Turkey

A combine harvester is seen harvesting at a wheat field in Ukraine
A combine harvester is seen harvesting at a wheat field in Ukraine. (Aleksandr Gusev/Sipa via AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 05 July 2022 05:01 PM EDT

Turkey is buying grain from Russia taken from Ukraine's fertile southern regions and transported via Crimea across the Black Sea, a new report claims.

Skhemy – a joint reporting project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – claims that while Russian ships disengage their transponders once out of port to avoid monitoring from public websites such as Marine Traffic and Equasis, the vessels have been tracked via satellite imagery.

Russia has seized control of much of the plains in the Zaporizhya and Kherson regions since its Feb. 24 invasion, allowing it to move the harvested grain to Sevastopol in Russian-held Crimea, where it is loaded on cargo ships at a terminal known as Avlita.

The port has been under Western sanctions since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, meaning European countries are not allowed to trade there. Turkish officials deny buying the Ukrainian grain and harboring Russian ships in the country's ports.

Skhemy pointed to a number of ships it managed to track using satellite imagery.

One was called "Mykhailo Nenashev." Before the ship disappeared from Marine Traffic's tracker, it showed the empty vessel approaching Avlita on June 15. On June 22, the ship was spotted by satellites in the southern Turkish port of Derince.

The same ship was spotted by satellites near Avlita on June 25, Skhemy said. Once reloaded, the ship reappeared on Marine Traffic and tracked to the Turkish port of Iskenderun.

Turkish officials claim that the shipments are legal, adding that the grain shipped to their ports does not come from occupied territories but instead comes from the Crimea itself.

Ukraine's Ministry of Agriculture, however, claims that the peninsula's arid land barely produces enough grain to sustain itself, let alone enough to export. Moreover, Ukraine halted water supplies to Crimea after it was occupied by Russia in 2014, which significantly hampered its ability to grow crops.

Additionally, the head of the Russian-installed government in Crimea, Serhiy Aksonov, admitted in a televised interview on the Crimea-24 channel that grain was being imported from the territories conquered by Russia.

"The grain from liberated Ukrainian territories comes to Crimea, Sevastopol, where it's shipped abroad. We produce for just the island," Aksonov said.

Ukraine is often referred to as the "Breadbasket of Europe" for its abundant agricultural production. The disruption of Ukraine's grain exports already has caused shortages in African and Middle Eastern countries, dependent on the shipments.

In the last few months, Russia has increased its grain export operation, prompting Western leaders to consider military escorts for Ukrainian ships.

The mayor of the southern occupied city of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, in a post to his Telegram account, corroborated civilian and official Ukrainian reports that Russia has intensified its confiscation of grain from Ukraine's southern regions.

"Russians are stealing more and doing so more efficiently," he said. "They're always looking for new routes and re-evaluating export logistics. Just recently, they fixed derelict railroad tracks coming into Crimean from mainland Ukraine."

According to the latest report published on the Ukrainian parliament's official website, Russia has confiscated more than 400,000 tons of grain. At least 100,000 tons has been shipped to Russia's close ally Syria.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


GlobalTalk
Turkey is buying grain from Russia taken from Ukraine's fertile southern regions and transported via Crimea across the Black Sea, a new report claims.
russia, ukraine, turkey, grain
524
2022-01-05
Tuesday, 05 July 2022 05:01 PM
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