After Turkey allowed the Russian ship Zebek Zuli to set sail, when it was accused of transporting a shipment of stolen Ukrainian grain, the government of Ukraine summoned the Turkish ambassador to understand the reason for this decision. This happens when it is feared that a diversion of Ukrainian grain or a blockade of its trade by the Russians could lead to a food crisis in global landmarks.
“We regret that the Russian ship Zybek Zuli, laden with stolen Ukrainian grain, was allowed to leave the port of Karasu despite the forensic evidence presented to the Turkish authorities,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko was quoted as saying by the Guardian. “The Turkish ambassador in Kyiv will be invited to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to clarify this unacceptable situation,” he said.
Turkish customs officials seized the ship at Ukraine’s request on Tuesday after Kyiv said the cargo was illegally transporting 7,000 tons of grain from the Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk in southeastern Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the Russian diplomat acknowledged that it was investigating the ship. The Russian news agency TASS quoted a crew member as saying that the ship’s cargo would be transferred to another cargo ship to allow the Zebek Zuli to leave the port.
Al Jazeera described the conflict between Russia and Ukraine as generating “global fears of a food crisis”. Russia’s war against Ukraine, a major wheat producer, has halted exports and there are increasing allegations that Moscow is stealing products from its neighbour.
“They steal crops by brute force and intimidation with their weapons,” the head of the Ukrainian Grain Association, Nikolai Gorbachev, accused to these media. “They are forcing farmers to cultivate their land and they warn that they will forcibly take away 70 percent of their crops in the future,” he added.
The controversy surrounding Zebek Zuli is also an important test of Turkey’s “loyalty.” An analyst at Al Jazeera stressed that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan occupied an “impossible” position, while remaining “pro-Ukrainian, not necessarily anti-Russian.”
This nation acted as a mediator between the European Union and Russia. As such, thus far, the Turkish authorities have avoided provoking clashes with Moscow, resulting in Russian ships carrying allegedly stolen goods with impunity.
In addition to this kind of diplomatic battle on the high seas, land disputes between the two countries continue, with records of violent attacks being recorded in the cities of Slovensk and Kramatorsk. Where, according to the governor of this city, one person was killed and at least six wounded, Thursday. “A Russian missile hit the center of Kramatorsk,” Governor Pavlo Kirilenko said. “At least one person was confirmed dead and six injured, but these numbers could change. It was announced that six buildings were damaged in the collision, including a hotel and a residential skyscraper. This is a deliberate attack against civilians.”
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