Britain demands probe into alleged theft of Ukraine’s grain by Russia

by Maytal Angel

LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) – Britain’s agriculture secretary on Tuesday called for an urgent investigation into allegations of Russia stealing grain from Ukraine.

Victoria Prentice told an International Grain Council (IGC) conference in London that she had heard allegations of grain theft by Russia from so-called ‘very serious’ sources in the southern Kherson region from Ukraine.

Ukraine, the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter, has seen its Black Sea ports blocked since the invasion of Moscow last February.

About 20 million tonnes of food grains are now stuck in the country, pushing global food prices to record highs.

Russia has denied these allegations.

The United Nations is trying to strike a deal to send grain from ports like Odessa, which Russia is willing to consider, provided Western sanctions are lifted.

Turkey has pushed for a deal between Russia and Ukraine to allow the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine’s ports, but prospects look slim, with each side accusing the other of disrupting supplies. .

Last week, Ukraine said Russia was sending stolen grain to Turkey from Crimea, which it captured in 2014. It also accused Russia of sending 100,000 tons of stolen Ukrainian wheat to Syria.

Ukraine’s Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kashka told the conference that Russian companies’ reputations have been tarnished over the years because of their attempts to sell stolen grain.

(Reporting by Maital Angel; French edition Edited by Dina Kartit, Mathieu Protard)

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