Ukraine asks Lebanon to reinvestigate alleged stolen grain

While grain exported on the Razoni makes its way to Tripoli in Lebanon from Odesa in Ukraine, bringing some much-needed relief to the Lebanese grain shortage, Ukraine continues to fight against the release of a ship which it claims is carrying grain stolen by Russia from Ukraine.

On August 3rd Ukraine asked Lebanon’s top prosecutor to reopen an investigation into a Syrian-flagged ship, the Laodicea, which Ukraine claims was carrying stolen grain. The vessel currently remains docked in Lebanon.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Lebanon, Ihor Ostash, told a news conference at the embassy near Beirut that the request to investigate further was based on new evidence gathered by a Ukrainian judge and handed over to Lebanon on Monday August 1st.

Lebanese prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat had lifted a first seizure order on the ship, stating that he could find no criminal offence and that the purported owners of the cargo had supplied valid documentation.

The vessel remained unable to sail until at least today because of another order from a different Lebanese judge.

An official from the company that owns the cargo has denied it was stolen and said that the ship would sail to nearby Syria, if it is allowed to leave.

Ukrainian authorities say the Laodicea travelled to a port in Russian-occupied Crimea closed to international shipping and that it took on cargo there before sailing to Lebanon.