August 16, 2022

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Ukraine says Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain seized by Turkey

Ukraine says Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain seized by Turkey

KARASU/Kyiv (Reuters) – Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey said on Sunday that Turkish customs authorities had seized a Russian cargo ship carrying grain that Ukraine says was stolen.

Ukraine had previously asked Turkey to seize the Russian-flagged cargo ship Zhebek Zuli, according to an official and documents seen by Reuters. Read more

Reuters reporters saw the Zebek Zuli docked about one kilometer offshore and outside the port of Karasu on Sunday without any visible signs of movement on board or near other ships nearby.

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“We have full cooperation. The ship is currently at the entrance to the port and has been detained by the Turkish customs authorities,” Ambassador Vasyl Bodnar told Ukraine’s national television.

Bodnar said the fate of the ship would be determined by a meeting of investigators on Monday and that Ukraine hoped to seize the grain.

Ukraine accused Russia of stealing grain from lands that Russian forces had controlled since the start of the Moscow invasion in late February. The Kremlin has previously denied that Russia has stolen any Ukrainian grain.

A Ukrainian Foreign Ministry official, citing information from the Ukrainian Maritime Administration, told Reuters on Friday that 7,146 dwt Zebek Zuli carried the first shipment of about 4,500 tons of Ukrainian grain from Berdyansk, a Russian-occupied port in southern Ukraine.

Sakarya Port Authority in the region could not be reached for comment. The Turkish Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Additional reporting by Max Hunder in Kyiv, Mehmet Kalikan and Omer Berberoglu in Karasu, Arza Ceylan in Istanbul; Editing by Toby Chopra and Edmund Blair

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