Russia Denies Claim of Vessel Detention Over Ukrainian Grain Theft

The Port of Berdyansk in occupied eastern Ukraine (Andrew Butko / CC BY SA 3.0)

Published Jul 6, 2022 5:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Russian government has denied Ukrainian claims that a ship full of allegedly stolen Ukrainian grain has been detained at a Turkish port. 

The Russian-appointed governor of the occupied Zaporizhzhia region, Yevhen Balytskyi, confirmed the departure of the Russian bulker Zhibek Zholy from the occupied port of Berdyansk on June 29. Balytskyi said that the Zholy would be carrying 7,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain to "friendly" nations. 

Zholy's AIS signal reappeared on the 29th near Kerch Strait, headed southbound. The ship crossed the Black Sea and made for Turkey's northern coastline, where she anchored off the small port of Karasu on July 1. 

According to Amb. Vasyl Bondar, Ukraine's representative in Ankara, Turkish authorities detained the Zholy after an urgent request from Kyiv. "We have full cooperation," he told Ukrainian media. A Turkish official confirmed the vessel's detention on July 4, and as of the evening of July 6, the Zholy was still moored off Karasu. 

However, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexei Zaitsev told Reuters Wednesday that the vessel was merely "undergoing standard procedures" and that reports of the vessel's detention were incorrect.

Ukrainian prosecutors have also asked Turkey to investigate the movements of three further Russian ships, the Mikhail Nenash....

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