The release of a Russian ship allegedly carrying stolen Ukrainian grain from Turkish waters is “unacceptable,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
According to a ministry statement released on Thursday, Turkey ignored a request to seize the ship and cargo and the ship was released on July 6.
It expresses “deep disappointment and an appeal to the Turkish side with an urgent request to conduct an investigation … and give a full response to the requests of the relevant authorities of Ukraine.”
The Russian merchant ship Zhibek Zholy delivered grain from the occupied port of Berdyansk to the Turkish port of Karasu.
“In connection with the unacceptable situation, the Turkish ambassador to Kyiv was invited to the Foreign Ministry,” the ministry added.
CNN has reached out to the Turkish government for comment.
Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Thursday that the Zhibek Zholy vessel, “anchored in Turkey, is planning to leave due to its downtime and send grain to a storage vessel.”
“It is planned to switch to a storage vessel and transshipment,” TASS said with reference to one of the ship’s crew members. “Then, when the big ship is loaded, (it) goes to the ports and unloads.”
Thursday’s shipping monitoring data shows the Zhibek Zholy transponder is no longer operational at its recent anchorage off Karasu.
Satellite imagery shows that Russian ships often transfer their cargo to other ships in the Black Sea.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey, Vasyl Bodnar, told CNN earlier that the Zhibek Zholy was anchored near Karasu because “in fact, it was detained by Turkish customs authorities and cannot be allowed into the port.”
“Now we are waiting for the decision of the relevant Turkish authorities regarding the actions that the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine insist on,” he added.
Some background: For several months, Ukraine and allied countries have tried to mitigate growing food crisis through the fault of Russia months-long blockade of Ukrainian portsand Moscow is accused of using food as weapons of war.
This was announced on Monday by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. up to 60 million tons of grain could be stuck in the country by autumn if it continues to face export blockages.
The UN has said that Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports has already driven up global food prices and threatens to cause catastrophic food shortages in parts of the world.
Russia has repeatedly denied blocking ports or stealing grain.