A Syrian ship that Ukraine says is carrying grain stolen by invading Russian forces left Lebanon for Syria on Thursday, a Lebanese minister said.
The Laodicea docked in Tripoli on July 27 with some 5,000 tons of barley and 5,000 tons of flour, which kyiv says were looted from Ukrainian warehouses.
A Lebanese judge issued a 72-hour embargo order on Monday, but it was lifted on Wednesday night. A release order issued by the port of Tripoli said the ship would be allowed to leave “in accordance with Lebanese law”, but did not indicate Lebanon’s assessment of Ukraine’s accusation.
Lebanon’s interim Transport Minister Ali Hamie told Reuters on Thursday that the ship had sailed. Navigation data from MarineTraffic showed it off the Syrian coast, near Tartus.
The Laodicea is one of three Syrian-owned ships sanctioned since 2015 by the United States for its alleged role in the conflict that has ravaged Syria for the past decade.
Those same three ships have been accused by the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut of regularly transporting stolen grain to Syria since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Syrian officials have not responded to multiple requests for comment from Reuters on the sanctioning of the ships and their role in transporting the allegedly stolen grain.
Russia denies stealing Ukrainian grain. Its embassy in Lebanon said it had no information about the shipment.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Thursday urged Lebanon to reconsider its decision to let the ship leave.
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