New satellite imagery shows that a Russian freighter full of grain allegedly stolen from Ukrainian farms has arrived in the Syrian port of Latakia — its second trip within four weeks.
The new images — provided by Maxar Technologies — show the bulk carrier Matros Pozynich at Latakia on May 27.
It is one of three ships that have been loading grain in the Crimean port of Sevastopol since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was last seen in Sevastopol on May 19 and subsequently tracked transiting the Bosphorus strait and south along the Turkish coast. It’s estimated that the ship can carry about 30,000 tons of grain.
The Matros Pozynich’s sister ship has also loaded grain at Sevastopol in the last two weeks.
Some context: CNN has previously reported that convoys of trucks have been seen carrying grain from farms and silos in southern Ukraine into Crimea. Ukrainian authorities estimated earlier this month that Russian forces in occupied areas had seized more than 400,000 tons of grain.
The grain thefts are threatening this year’s harvest in Ukraine — which is one of the most important grain-producing countries in the world.
For Russia, grain is an attractive commodity. The price of wheat is about $400 a ton on world markets and has moved sharply higher this year.