WASHINGTON, DC, US – US-based satellite imagery company Maxar on June 16 said it has images showing Russian-flagged ships transporting delivering Ukraine-produced grain to Syria, one of Russia’s staunchest allies, Reuters reported.
According to Reuters, the images show Russian bulk carriers docked in the Russian-controlled Crimean port of Sevastopol in May and being loaded with grain, the company said. Days later, Maxar satellites collected images of the same ships docked in Syria, with their hatches open and semi-trucks lined up ready to haul the grain away, Maxar said.
Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing its grain since it invaded Ukraine in late February. The conflict brought Ukrainian grain exports from its Black Sea ports to a halt and has also hindered the planting of this year’s crop.
Ukraine is the largest sunflower oil exporter and among the world’s largest corn and wheat exporters. The decrease in the supply of these and other agricultural products has caused food prices to increase around the world, creating the risk of global famine.
In recent weeks, the Ukraine government has accused Russia of stealing several hundred thousand tonnes of Ukraine-produced grain in the areas of the country it now occupies.