Ukraine asked Turkey to arrest a ship with grain from Berdyansk

Ukraine has asked Turkey to take action against a ship with grain from Berdyansk. It is chartered by a Russian company from a Kazakh owner. He claims that grain transportation services are provided by a company from Estonia at the request of Kyiv

View of the commercial seaport of Berdyansk

Ukraine asked Turkey to detain and arrest a ship flying the Russian flag, which left the port of Berdyansk (Zaporozhye region) with grain. It is reported by Reuters with reference to the document and an unnamed Ukrainian official. Ukraine's ambassador to Turkey, Vasily Bodnar, confirmed that Kyiv had asked Turkey to “take action” in relation to the ship.

“Based on the letter from the Prosecutor General's Office, we appealed to the Turkish side with a call to take urgent measures”,— the ambassador wrote on Facebook (its parent organization, Meta, has been declared extremist and banned in Russia).

According to the source of Reuters, the ship “Zhibek Zholy” 4.5 thousand tons of wheat were loaded in Berdyansk. In a letter to the Turkish Ministry of Justice, which was studied by Reuters, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office said that the vessel was involved in the “illegal export of Ukrainian grain”; from Berdyansk to Turkish Karasu. In circulation, a different amount of wheat was called— 7 thousand tons

The Turkish Foreign Ministry did not respond to the agency's request for comment.

At the same time, the Kazakh company KTZ Express Shipping, which is the owner of the vessel, published a message regarding the participation of Zhibek Zholy in the export of grain. The company said that since October it has an agreement with the Russian company “Green Line” on chartering a ship without a crew for a period until November 2022.

“Guarantees are provided on the part of Green Line LLC that they are not subject to any sanctions on the date of conclusion of the contract and during the validity period. Otherwise, the shipowner has the right to immediately terminate the contract, — the Kazakh company said. They also stressed that the “Green Line” and its leadership are not on the sanctions lists of the US, EU, UK and Canada. KTZ Express indicated that, according to the contract, the tenant is not obliged to coordinate with it the type of cargo and transportation routes.

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In addition, the Kazakh company said that, according to its information, Green Line signed a long-term contract for the provision of services for the transportation of grain from Ukraine to Turkey with the Estonian company Mangelbert OU.

“According to the head of Mangelbert OU, on June 28, the Zhibek Zholy ship, loaded with wheat (6927 tons) at the Berdyansk Commercial Sea Port, left the port heading for the Turkish port of Karasu. He also claims that the grain is Ukrainian and the transportation is carried out along the agreed humanitarian corridor at the request of the Ukrainian side,— the Kazakh company said. At the same time, KTZ Express indicated that it was consulting with participants in the transportation and representatives of the diplomatic mission, without specifying the country.

According to the Marine Traffic vessel tracking website, Zhibek Zholy has already arrived at the port of Karasu. Novorossiysk is indicated as the port of departure— from there, according to the service, the ship left on June 22.

RBC sent inquiries to the press services of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the Turkish Ministry of Justice, Mangelbert OU, and also asked the press service of Green Line LLC for comment.

On June 30, the head of the military-civilian administration of the Zaporozhye region Yevgeny Balitsky said that after several months of inactivity, the first ship with 7,000 tons of grain left the port of Berdyansk. The wheat was sent “to friendly countries,” he pointed out. At the same time, Balitsky later removed the second sentence from his message, which contained information about the amount of grain and the points where it was transported.

Berdyansk has been under the control of the Russian military since the end of February. A new administration was formed there.

Earlier, the UN said that 4.5 million tons of grain had accumulated in Ukrainian ports, which they could not take out. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that from 20 million to 25 million tons of agricultural products were blocked in the country: wheat, corn, barley, sunflower oil. The Russian leadership has repeatedly stated that it does not interfere with the export of grain and is ready to ensure the unhindered passage of dry cargo ships with wheat. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out that the export of grain is hindered by “minefields” that have been planted by Ukrainian servicemen. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that there are several ways to export Ukrainian grain, including both ports controlled by Russia and controlled by Ukraine. Turkey joined the negotiations on the export of Ukrainian grain: the Turkish side, among other things, announced an agreement to create an operations center for grain.

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