Russia Was Just Accused Of Stealing Ukrainian Grain

Western powers are once again accusing Russian agencies of selling stolen Ukrainian grain. Turkey is now investigating the origins of a grain shipment being transported by a Russian-flagged ship that was recently seized in the port of Karasu, per The Guardian.

As food prices increase due to inflation and several nations face looming famines, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has fueled a global food crisis. According to The Guardian, Ukraine accounts for approximately 15% of the world's grain exports. Russia, on the other hand, is the world's largest exporter, and is responsible for 18% of the world's grain (via World Grain). The war between the two countries have left populations around the globe vulnerable to food shortages, and extravagant prices (via BBC). CNN Business reports that wheat commodity values have spent much of 2022 above average compared to the last decade and have caused prices for staple foods to rise.

Last month, the United States began issuing warnings to be wary of Russian grain shipments that were likely stolen from Ukraine, according to The New York Times. Ukrainian officials blamed Russians for stealing grain that was stored in occupied territories, per Al Jazeera.

Russian-flagged ship held in Turkish port for investigation

According to The Guardian, Turkish authorities have seized a Russian-flagged ship in the Black Sea port town of Karasu. The ship was seized after the port received claims from Ukrainian officials that it was transporting stolen cargo. The ship, Zhibek Zholy, is currently waiting offshore as its contents are analyzed, and its origins traced.

Though the ship was flying a Russian flag, Moscow has denied it is an officially sanctioned ship (via The Guardian). Russia's foreign minister says that he believes the ship is actually from Kazakhstan and is operating under a contract with Estonia and Turkey.

The ship allegedly left the Russian occupied port of Berdiansk in Southern Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region to much acclaim. The newly Moscow-appointed head of the region touted the ship as the "first commercial ship" to leave a Russian occupied port since the war began. Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey reached an agreement for shipping to safely resume from some ports.

Russia is already poised to see huge profits from heightened grain prices as they shipped 80% more wheat in April of this year than in 2021 (via Wall Street Journal). While Russian oil is heavily sanctioned, Reuters reports that grains have not received the same scrutiny. In fact, according to CNBC, Biden has even encouraged some nations to accept Russian wheat in order to relieve the dire shortages in some countries.