Vessels linked to Russia’s largest grain trader are using an intricate transport network to move thousands of tons of stolen Ukrainian grain to global buyers, reports The Wall Street Journal.
An investigation by the paper has identified a network of feeder vessels and floating cranes linked to Peter Khodykin, who owns RIF Trading House, Russia's largest grain exporter and a big player in global grain markets.
The smuggling process builds on operations in Russian-occupied Ukraine, where trucks have moved stolen grain through a clandestine system to Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
From Crimea’s Sevastopol port, Russia is using sophisticated maritime operations meant to disguise the origin of cargoes, including vessel transfers at sea. By one estimate, Sevastopol handled nearly 15 times as much grain in a recent six-month period as it did in the same months last year.
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