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Reuters: Russia exports coal from occupied Ukrainian territory to Türkiye

Reportedly, from February to July 2023, Russia exported approximately 160,400 tons of coal from the temporarily occupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine to Türkiye.
Credit: StateImpact/NPR
Reuters: Russia exports coal from occupied Ukrainian territory to Türkiye

Russia exported coal mined in territories of Ukraine it occupies to Türkiye, amounting to a value of at least $14.3 million this year, Reuters reported.

Citing data from Russian customs, the report indicates that from February to July 2023, approximately 160,400 tons of coal from the temporarily occupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine reached Türkiye.

Three producers, identified in the customs data, have confirmed to Reuters that they shipped coal from these two oblasts to Türkiye within this timeframe. However, the Türkish Ministry of Trade and Customs Administration remained silent when asked for comments regarding these shipments.

Further investigation by Reuters, cross-referencing supplier data for commercial trade, revealed that coal from at least ten producers was dispatched to Türkiye between February and July. These figures highlighted that Türkiye was the primary export destination for coal from these Russia-occupied oblasts of Ukraine, accounting for an overwhelming 95% of the shipments during this period.

According to the Russian companies’ database Spark, the coal sellers are registered both in Russia and Ukraine’s occupied territories. Customs data shows that the buyers were companies registered in places like Hong Kong, the UAE, and offshore jurisdictions, including Belize and the British Virgin Islands. Notably, there were no Türkish companies on the list. Reuters could not establish contact with the buyers or ascertain the ultimate beneficiary of these transactions.

In November, the then-leader of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR), Vitaliy Khotseko, announced that the region was already exporting coal to Türkiye, which subsequently made its way to Middle Eastern and African markets. However, a diligent search by Reuters found no evidence in the customs data of coal shipments from the DNR to Türkiye or any other country in 2022.

While the commercial trade data does not present a complete picture of how the coal was exported, it indicates that some passed through Rostov and others through the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. Both locations have railway connections with Donetsk and Luhansk.

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