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24 Jul, 2023 11:30

Traces of explosives found on foreign ship en route to Russia – FSB

The vessel may have been used to deliver explosives to Ukraine, the Federal Security Service has said
Traces of explosives found on foreign ship en route to Russia – FSB

Traces of explosives were found on a foreign cargo ship sailing from Türkiye to the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don to load grain, the Federal Security Service (FSB) reported on Monday.

The FSB detected traces of “dinitrotoluene and tetryl” aboard the vessel and “signs of third-party interference in the cargo ship structural elements,” its press office stated. 

The security service established that at the end of May, the vessel had been docked in the Ukrainian port of Kilia. In June, the ship reached the Turkish port of Tuzla, where the vessel’s crew of 12 Ukrainian citizens and the name of the ship were changed. 

“These circumstances may indicate the possibility of using a foreign civilian vessel to deliver explosives to the territory of Ukraine,” the FSB said.

The traces of explosives were discovered during an inspection of the ship, which the FSB was conducting on vessels passing through the Kerch Strait to “prevent terrorist and sabotage actions and ensure the safety of navigation.”

A week ago, Ukraine staged a terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge, which spans the Kerch Strait between the peninsula and mainland Russia, killing a civilian couple and injuring their daughter.

Moscow has claimed that Ukraine was using the Black Sea corridor that was set up for grain deliveries to conduct attacks against Russian civilian and military vessels. Last week, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky cited this as one of the reasons that Russia decided to terminate the Black Sea grain initiative. 

The grain deal, signed last year by Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye, and the UN, was aimed at securing uninterrupted grain shipments from Ukrainian ports to the poorest countries that are in dire need of the shipments. Russia was one of the guarantors of the safety of exports, in exchange for sanctions relief. However, Moscow temporarily left the deal earlier this month, citing the West’s failure to fulfill its obligations under the agreement.

Starting from July 20, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that all vessels sailing towards Ukrainian ports via the Black Sea will be considered potential carriers of military cargo.