Ukraine accuses NATO's Turkey of buying grain stolen by Russia

Kyiv's ambassador to Ankara has accused Turkey of buying grain stolen from Ukraine by Russia during the war, Reuters reported on Friday.

Turkish buyers are among those receiving grain that Russia stole from Ukraine, it cited Vasyl Bodnar as saying. The envoy said that he has sought Ankara and Interpol’s help in identifying and capturing individuals responsible for the shipments.

The claim follows an announcement from Moscow that Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, would be visiting Turkey next week.

This week, Ukraine's first deputy minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, Taras Vysotskyi, said that Russia had stolen almost half a million tonnes of grain that had been illegally exported from the country.

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 the ongoing war has stopped many of these shipments from leaving the Black Sea.

Since the Russian invasion that began in February, Ukrainian grain shipments from its Black Sea ports have stalled, with some 20 million tonnes of grain stuck.

Russia has denied all accusations of stealing Ukrainian wheat, but Ukrainian, U.S. and EU officials have accused Moscow of effectively weaponizing food to blackmail the world over a looming food crisis.

Last week, a senior Turkish official told Reuters that Ankara was in negotiations with Moscow and Kyiv to open a corridor via Turkey for grain exports from Ukraine.

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