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Turkey Halts Russian Ship, Investigates Ukrainian Claims -Senior Official | World News

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey has stopped a Russian-flagged cargo ship off its Black Sea coast and is investigating a Ukrainian claim it was carrying stolen grain, a senior Turkish official said on Monday.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey said on Sunday that Zhibek Jholi had been detained by Turkish customs authorities. According to a Reuters official and documents, Ukraine had previously asked Ankara to hold it.

Kyiv has been accused of stealing grain from areas occupied by Russian forces since the offensive against Moscow began in late February. The Kremlin has previously denied that Russia stole any grain from Ukraine.

“Based on the request, the ship named Jhibek Jholi was stopped from Karasu (port),” a senior official said. “The allegations are being thoroughly investigated. The grain is not written on the car.”

He said Turkey was in contact with Russia, the United Nations and third parties over the issue.

On Sunday, Reuters reporters saw the ship anchor about 1km off the coast of the port of Karasu in Turkey’s northwestern Sakaria province. At that time there were no obvious signs of movement by ship or other ships in the vicinity.

Ukrainian Ambassador Vasil Bodner said on Ukrainian national television that the fate of the ship would be decided through a meeting of investigators on Monday and that Ukraine hoped to seize the grain.

An official at Ukraine’s foreign ministry told Reuters on Friday, citing data from Ukraine’s maritime administration, that 7,146 DWT Jibek Zholi had loaded the first cargo of about 4,500 tonnes of Ukrainian grain from the Russian-occupied port of Bardiansk in southern Ukraine.

(Reporting by Orhan Koskun, EC Toksabe and Azra Silan; Written by Darren Butler; Edited by Ali Kukukgokmen and David Evans)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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