A Turkey-based grains trading company denied Friday that barley and flour aboard a ship docked in the Port of Tripoli in Lebanon had been stolen from Ukraine, saying the source of the flour is Russia.
An official at Loyal Agro Co LTD said that the firm had sought to sell 5,000 tons of the flour on the ship to private buyers in Lebanon and not to the Lebanese government.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Lebanon on Thursday told Reuters that a U.S.-sanctioned Syrian ship had docked in Tripoli “carrying 5,000 tons of barley and 5,000 tons of flour that we suspect was taken from Ukrainian stores.”
The company official said that the cargo, some 8,000 tons of flour and 1,700 tons of barley in total, had initially been destined for Syria but the company decided to offload 5,000 tons of flour in Lebanon amid bread shortages tied to a three-year economic crisis. The official added that the flour could be sold for between $620 to $650 per ton in Lebanon, whereas a ton would fetch $600 in Syria.