A Russian ship carrying stolen Ukrainian grain has docked in Syria, the Ukrainian embassy in Lebanon claimed today.
Kyiv accuses Russia of looting grain warehouses after the Russian army invaded Ukrainian territory.
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a close ally of Moscow.
“According to our information, the SV KONSTANTIN docked in Syria,” the embassy told AFP, “carrying stolen grain, which was smuggled by the Russian occupation forces.”
The cargo was originally destined for Tripoli, Lebanon. The embassy did not specify which Syrian port the SV KONSTANTIN has docked at.
Another ship unloaded earlier today at the Syrian port of Tartous, which is managed by a Russian company, according to Samir Madani, co-founder of the website TankerTrackers.com. The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni is carrying the first cargo of grain allowed to be exported from Ukraine after Russia lifted its blockade of Ukrainian ports. According to Madani, the ship was destined for Lebanon, but changed course and headed for Tartous. Satellite photos show it unloading its cargo, 26 tonnes of maize.
In early August, a Syrian ship was stopped in Lebanon on suspicion of carrying stolen Ukrainian grain. It was eventually allowed to continue on its way to Syria, much to the dismay of Ukraine, which said it was “disappointed” by the decision.
Syria and Russia have been allies for decades. Their ties were further strengthened after the civil war that broke out in Syria and Moscow’s military intervention, since 2015, on the side of Bashar al-Assad. Moscow provides little financial support to Damascus, but regularly supplies it with grain.
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