According to the Foreign Ministry, the vessel was following standard procedures when it was anchored close to the Turkish port at Karasu
Moscow denies reports that Turkish Customs seized or arrested a Russian dry cargo ship transporting grain close to Karasu Port.
Aleksey Zaitsev was the Russian Foreign Ministry’s deputy director for the Information and Press Department. He stated during a briefing that Zhibek Zholy was simply going through the normal procedures to enter a port.
“According to Russia’s embassy in Turkey, the ship is currently in the roadstead of the port of Karasu and is undergoing standard procedures, including sanitary control,”Zaitsev said. Further, he explained that the Turkish authorities would make the final decision about allowing the ship to enter the port based upon the results. Zaitsev said that regardless of how the decision is made, there will be no mention about arresting or detaining the ship.
The ship’s crew members have also denied being arrested or detained by Turkish officials. One member of crew spoke out to TASS Tuesday and stated that no standard detention procedures were used against the ship, adding that the vessel is currently at anchor because it has bad weather.
“During a detention procedure, the ship is usually brought into the port under guard, meaning that it should specifically be done under the jurisdiction of Turkey’s guards if something really did happen. The ship was not taken into custody. Weather conditions have caused the ship to anchor. An inspector arrived and checked the cargo. This always happens,”Crew member explained.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey, Vasily Bodnar, claimed on July 3 that Turkish customs, at the behest of Kiev, had arrested a Russian cargo ship allegedly carrying “stolen”Ukrainian grain
According to Reuters (which cited unnamed Ukrainian officials), the Zhibek Zholy was allegedly carrying around 4500 tonnes of grain from its Russian port at Berdiansk to reach the Turkish port in Karasu.
The outlet also reported that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office had previously sent a letter to Turkey’s Justice Ministry in late June insisting that the Zkibek Zholy had been involved in the “illegal export of Ukrainian grain,”The vessel also reportedly had approximately 7000 tons of cargo aboard. Turkey was reportedly requested by Ukraine to inspect the vessel, seize grains for an forensic analysis to ascertain its origin.
Official comments have not yet been made by Ankara’s authorities nor Turkish customs officials regarding the current situation.
A conflict in Ukraine made it impossible to export grain by sea from Ukraine. Russia has been accused of crimes by Kiev. “stealing” its grain – which Moscow has denied.
Russia has been accused by Western countries of blocking ports. Moscow stated repeatedly that safe passage would be guaranteed for grain cargoes if Kiev cleared its mines. Russian troops have been accused of mining Black Sea ports by Ukraine. Russia proposed exporting grain via the Russian-controlled port of Berdiansk or Mariupol.