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Lebanon clears ship accused of carrying stolen Ukrainian grain

Ukraine’s embassy in Lebanon had claimed that the grain aboard the ship was loaded from a region occupied by Russian forces, and said it was providing Lebanese authorities with proof that the item was stolen.

File. Photo: Oleksandr GIMANOV / AFP

BEIRUT – Lebanon’s top prosecutor on Tuesday released a Syrian-flagged ship after it was seized over allegations by Kyiv’s embassy in Beirut that it was carrying flour and barley stolen from Ukraine, an official said.

Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat allowed the Laodicea, which docked in the northern port city of Tripoli last week, to sail after investigations failed to prove it was carrying stolen goods, a judicial official told AFP.

“Preliminary investigations… did not reveal the existence of a criminal act or that the goods were stolen,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Ukraine’s embassy in Lebanon had claimed that the grain aboard the ship was loaded from a region occupied by Russian forces, and said it was providing Lebanese authorities with proof that the item was stolen.

Ukraine has repeatedly accused Moscow’s forces of raiding its grain warehouses since Russia invaded the country in late February.

On Saturday, Oueidat ordered the seizure of the vessel and instructed police to investigate.

Prosecutors found that the grain aboard the vessel belonged to a Syrian merchant, the judicial official said.

“The Syrian national whose name is on the shipment from Ukraine came in for investigation and presented papers and documents proving his ownership,” the official said on Tuesday.

Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest grain exporters, has this week provisionally resumed grain exports following a UN-backed deal.

A Sierra Leone-registered ship, the Razoni, sailed from the port of Odessa to Lebanon on Monday under a deal between Turkey and the United Nations that seeks to release millions of tons of detained Ukrainian products to world markets and stem a global food crisis.

The Marine Traffic website showed the ship – which is carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn – off the coast of Bulgaria at 0900 GMT on Tuesday.

Lebanon, which is struggling with one of the world’s worst financial crises, is facing a particularly acute bread shortage.



Lebanon clears ship accused of carrying stolen Ukrainian grain

Source link Lebanon clears ship accused of carrying stolen Ukrainian grain

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