WSJ: Ukraine asks Turkey to impound ship with stolen barley

WSJ: Ukraine asks Turkey to impound ship with stolen barley

Ukrainian authorities have asked Turkey to impound a ship carrying 19,000 tons of barley harvested from regions occupied by Russia, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Panama-register ship arrived at the Turkish port of Samsun Monday, according to shipping databases. Ukrainian prosecutors had already contacted Turkish authorities, informing them that the ship had loaded the barley at a Crimea port. They asked that samples be taken and the captain and crew questioned, adding that the ship had turned off its GPS.

The ship is managed by Tower Shipping, a Dubai-based company, through a subsidiary, Alvion Maritime.

Russian companies have engaged in widespread contraband of Ukrainian cereals, although they officially deny this; Ukrainian authorities had already made a similar request to impound a ship back in July 2022, according to diplomatic sources.

Turkey, although a NATO member, has been pursuing a balancing act between the two belligerents, selling drones to Ukraine but also deepening its economic ties with Russia and not taking part in the sanctions imposed by Western countries. Last year, it helped broker an agreement that allowed Ukraine, a major cereals producer, to continue its exports via the Black Sea. It has also tried to play peace broker, hosting two rounds of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine; talks ultimately failed.

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