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Ukraine seizes ship suspected of exporting stolen grain to Russia

Ukraine has seized a foreign cargo ship in the Black Sea off the Odessa region and detained its captain on suspicion of helping Moscow export Ukrainian grain from Russian-occupied Crimea, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said on Thursday (11).

The ship, which was not identified, was traveling under the flag of a Central African country and repeatedly docked at the Crimean seaport of Sevastopol to collect “looted” agricultural products between 2023 and 2024, the SBU said.

Russian forces occupied swathes of Ukraine’s southern agricultural regions in the first year of their 2022 invasion, and Kiev has accused Russia of stealing and destroying its grain.

The SBU said the captain and 12 crew members helped Russia export several tons of Ukrainian grain taken from the occupied south to the Middle East for sale on Russia’s behalf.

“The investigation is ongoing to establish all the circumstances of the crime and identify other persons involved in the illegal activity,” the SBU said.

The captain, a citizen of a South Caucasus country, could face up to five years in prison for violating travel restrictions governing Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories, the statement said.

The Odessa region center plays a key role in Ukraine’s exports to the Black Sea, which resumed without Russia’s consent after Moscow ended a U.N.-brokered deal last summer that allowed Kiev to export food during the war with Russia.

Source: CNN Brasil

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