Russian detained grain-carrying ship enters Russia territorial water
Ankara returns Moscow's detained ship and Kiev voices its disappointment to the Turkish ambassador.
On July 3rd, and upon Ukraine's request, Turkey detained a Russian ship suspected of carrying Ukrainian grain. Today, the detained ship has been returned to Russian territorial waters, a Turkish source told AFP. Turkey’s decision to return the ship to Moscow has drawn angry condemnations from Kiev.
According to the marinetraffic.com website, Zhibek Zholy moved at least 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from Turkey's Black Sea port of Karasu before turning off its transponder and disappearing from view.
Officials in Ukraine said the grain on the ship was seized from Berdyansk Port in the southeastern province of Zaporizhzhia. The area is currently under the control of Russian forces.
Turkey, a NATO member, had sought to find a middle ground between Kiev and Moscow so as to maintain a good relationship with both. Since Friday, Ankara did not issue any official statement about Zhibek Zholy since its arrival at Karasu.
However, the Ukrainian foreign ministry summoned on Thursday Turkey's ambassador to demand a clarification for the ship's disappointing release. In a statement, the Ukrainian FM stated that "Ignoring an appeal from Ukraine, the ship was released on the evening of July 6."
We regret that Russia’s ship Zhibek Zholy which was full of stolen Ukrainian grain, was allowed to leave Karasu port despite criminal evidence presented to the Turkish authorities. Türkiye’s Ambassador in Kyiv will be invited to @MFA_Ukraine to clarify this unacceptable situation— Oleg Nikolenko (@OlegNikolenko_) July 7, 2022
The Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said, "We regret that Russia's ship Zhibek Zholy which was full of stolen Ukrainian grain, was allowed to leave Karasu port despite criminal evidence presented to the Turkish authorities."
On the other hand, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said last month that Ankara had claimed that an investigation had been underway seeking to find the stolen Ukrainian grain, but none was found.
Read more: Moscow slams West over 'destructive' stance on grain