BY DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
Turkey is investigating claims that Ukrainian grain has been stolen by Russia and would not allow any such grain to be brought to the country, its top diplomat said Thursday.
Kyiv’s ambassador to Ankara said in early June that Turkish buyers were among those receiving grain that Russia had stolen from Ukraine, adding he had sought Turkey’s help to identify and capture individuals responsible for the alleged shipments.
Russia has previously denied allegations that it has stolen Ukrainian grain.
“We take every claim seriously and are investigating them seriously. We notify especially the Ukrainian side of the result every time,” Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told a joint news conference alongside British Foreign Minister Liz Truss in Ankara.
Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies, while Russia also heavily exports fertilizer and Ukraine corn and sunflower oil. But Ukrainian grain shipments from its Black Sea ports have stalled since Russia invaded, with some 20 million tons of grain stuck.
Çavuşoğlu said Turkey would oppose Russia or any other country taking Ukrainian grain or other goods and selling them illegitimately to international markets.
“We, as Turkey, will not allow these goods to come to us,” he said.
For her part, Truss said the U.K. and Turkey were working together to get the trapped grain out of Ukraine, also offering Britain’s expertise to help resolve the situation.
Hailing Turkey’s “leading role” in opening a grain export corridor from Ukraine, she stressed the urgency of the crisis, adding that it will have devastating consequences if not solved within the next month.
“We are very clear that this grain crisis is urgent, that it needs to be solved within the next month otherwise we could see devastating consequences,” Truss said.
“It’s very clear that Ukrainian ports must be protected, there needs to be safe passage for commercial vessels. The United Kingdom is offering our expertise on all of those fronts to make sure that we have measures in place so that grain can safely leave, but it is going to require an international effort.”