Eighty-seven ships carrying grain stolen from Ukraine have passed through Middle Eastern countries with the involvement of the Russian occupation forces.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Lebanon Ihor Ostash announced this, the CFTS portal reports, citing the Interfax Ukraine news agency.
"A criminal system that constantly transports stolen grain from Ukraine is at work. It could be through Turkey, it could be directly to Syria, it could be to other countries in the Middle East, but it is such a criminal agreement in which the Russians, the Russian occupation forces in Ukraine are, of course, involved. Of course, mainly Syrian and Russian vessels and not only," Ostash said at a news briefing on Wednesday.
The ambassador also said that the refusal to allow the Syrian vessel Laodecia, which was carrying Ukrainian flour and barley stolen by the Russian Federation, to unload in Lebanon was a victory for Ukraine. According to the diplomat, this batch of agricultural products was ordered by business entities and not representatives of the state of Lebanon.
"It is very important to refer to international maritime law [in cases of such thefts] because these vessels, which are loaded in the Crimea, almost always use these criminal routes, turn off their AIS, transponders, and beacons in order to be invisible, and this is already a signal that an illegal operation or business is taking place and that there is an attempt to hide something and avoid responsibility," the ambassador said.
Ostash emphasized that such acts require the International Maritime Organization to draft rules for responding to food theft to try to create obstacles for offenders.
As reported earlier, the Laodicea cargo ship was initially allowed to enter the Lebanese port of Tripoli and then arrested at the request of the Ukrainian embassy. However, a court lifted the arrest the very next day, 3 August, and the cargo ship departed for Syria presumably.