Ukraine has asked Turkish authorities to detain a Russian-flagged ship carrying Ukrainian grain, the country’s ambassador to Turkey, Vasyl Bodnar, told DailyExpertNews on Saturday.
The Zhibek Zholy ship is currently anchored near the Turkish port of Karasu because “it was in fact detained by the Turkish customs authorities and not allowed to enter the port,” Bondar said. “Now we await the decision of the relevant authorities of Turkey regarding the actions that Ukraine’s law enforcement authorities are urging,” he said.
The Turkish Ministry of Commerce has not yet responded to DailyExpertNews’s request to confirm that the ship has been detained.
Bodnar said Ukraine initially addressed the Turkish Foreign Ministry about the ship on Thursday, and the Ukrainian embassy in Turkey received a call on Friday from Ukrainian authorities “to ensure its detention and inspection”.
“Maybe we’ll demand his arrest too,” Bodnar said. “We have appealed to the Turkish authorities and have organized several communications with senior officials.” DailyExpertNews has contacted the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding Bodnar’s claim.
Ukraine has repeatedly said that Russia has stolen hundreds of thousands of tons of grain since the start of the war.
According to ship tracking website Marine Traffic, the cargo ship left the Russian port of Novorossiysk on June 22 and spent nearly a week at sea between Ukraine and Russia.
The cargo ship turned on its tracker as it left the Sea of Azov on June 29 for Karasu, Turkey, arriving at the Turkish port on Friday, according to Marine Traffic.
While it’s possible the grain came from neighboring areas, Bodnar said the ship’s loading point was “certainly” Berdiansk — “occupied territory,” without explaining why he’s sure of this. Bodnar added that he does not have the name of the company or district where the grain comes from.
Yevgeny Balitsky, the head of Zaporizhzhya’s regional military administration, now partly under Russian control, said on Telegram on Thursday that the first merchant ship had left the port of Berdiansk on the Sea of Azov, reiterating Russia’s claims that the waters around the harbor have been drained. – mined by the technical units of the Russian naval base Novorossiysk.
Bodnar said Ukraine sent the second call to Turkey on Friday “when we just learned that the ship was coming” after the first call was made on Wednesday “when we received information from open sources that such a ship was loading and apparently from planned to enter the gate.”
Friday’s appeal has a “legal” component and has been sent “to all Turkish authorities responsible for making decisions,” he said.
According to Bodnar, the Turkish Ministry of Commerce responded to the initial call and said the ship will remain at anchor near the port of Karasu without being allowed to unload or go back, while Turkey evaluates Ukraine’s requests.
“I have the impression that the Russian side tried to set a precedent and tried to transport everything from the occupied ports – this is Berdiansk, it could be Mariupol,” Bodnar said.
“In addition, this is probably one of the attempts to drive a wedge between Turkey and Ukraine, as well as an attempt to legalize the occupation of ports belonging to Ukraine.”
In response to media reports that Ukraine’s Attorney General has filed a request with Turkey to detain and arrest the cargo ship, the ship’s owner, Kazakhstan National Railway Company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), said in a statement. Saturday that “KTZ requested confirmation from the Ukrainian authorities regarding such a request.
“Active consultations are underway with the ambassadors of both countries [Turkey and Ukraine]the statement said.
“The seller, a company registered in Europe, insists that the transaction is legal. In order to clarify the situation and rule out violations of international law, KTZ has sent a letter to the ship’s lessee requesting , as an urgent matter, a detailed explanation of the situation and the submission of all supporting documents (contracts, certificates, etc.), “the company said.
“KTZ reaffirms its commitment to respecting international law,” it added.
Ukraine accuses Russia of blocking its ports and “stealing” Ukrainian grain The United Nations has said Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports has already pushed global food prices soaring and threatens to create a catastrophic food shortage in parts of the world.
Russia has repeatedly denied blocking ports and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called allegations that Russia stole grain from its neighbor “fake news”.