Using a low-profile fleet of ships under US sanctions, Syria has this year sharply increased wheat imports from the Russia-occupied Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. Wheat sent to Syria from the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea increased 17-fold this year to just over 500,000 tonnes, previously unreported Refinitiv shipping data shows, to make up nearly a third of the country’s total imports of the grain, Reuters reports.
“Ukraine says at least a part of the grain that passed through Sevastopol was taken from Ukrainian territories after Russia invaded. Ukraine’s embassy in Beirut, which has been tracking shipments coming to Syria, estimates that 500,000 tonnes of what it calls plundered Ukrainian grain has arrived in Syria since the invasion, shipped from several ports. The embassy said these calculations and Ukrainian authorities’ allegation that grain was stolen was based on information from field and silo owners in occupied territories, satellite data of truck movements to ports and the tracking of ships,” Reuters wrote.
Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula has been under Russian occupation since 2014.