The Russian military is suspected of illegally stealing tons of grain during its invasion of Ukraine. The US broadcaster CNN reported on this, citing satellite images from the US service provider “Maxar Technology”. According to this, Russian ships are said to have been observed at the port of Sevastopol on the annexed peninsula of Crimea loading and shipping Ukrainian grain.
According to the report, the two ships “Matros Posynitsch” and “Matros Koschka” have now left the port, according to the geo-service provider “Marinetraffic.com” they are still at sea. According to CNN, the quality of the images is so good that the loading from the grain silos onto the ships can be clearly seen.
It cannot be clarified whether the cargo is actually Ukrainian grain. However, hardly any grain is grown in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia.
Speculations therefore indicate that Russian soldiers have plundered grain stores in the Cherson and Zaporizhia regions north of Crimea. The territories were conquered at the beginning of the Russian invasion.
The “Matros Posynich” was spotted on satellite images at the Syrian port of Latakia two weeks ago after being turned away by Egyptian ports. There, the grain was then loaded onto trucks.
Russia has maintained good relations with Syria for years. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed a sale of alleged Ukrainian grain shipments to the country as “fake news”.
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Ukraine is one of the largest grain producers in the world. Before the start of the war, around 4.5 million tons of agricultural products were exported monthly through the ports, including 12 percent of the wheat produced worldwide, 15 percent of the corn and half of the sunflower oil.
Exports via the Ukrainian seaports have come to a complete standstill because of the Russian naval blockade. The EU recently announced that it wanted to make grain trade possible through other channels.