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Russian proxy allowed Russian exporters to take 34,000 tonnes of grain worth €6 million out of Kherson Oblast

Thursday, 6 June 2024, 20:36
Russian proxy allowed Russian exporters to take 34,000 tonnes of grain worth €6 million out of Kherson Oblast
Vladimir Saldo and Vladimir Putin. Collage: Skhemy (Schemes), a project of Radio Libert

Vladimir Saldo, Russian-appointed puppet leader in the occupied part of Kherson Oblast, and a specially created local commission have granted approval to Russian companies to export Ukrainian agricultural products abroad with a zero or reduced export duty rate.

Source: joint investigation by Skhemy (Schemes), a project of Radio Liberty), the Belarusian Investigative Centre, and Verstka, the Russian non-governmental project, whose work is based on leaked documents from the occupied part of Kherson Oblast

Details: The journalists received the data set from the Ukrainian hackers' association KibOrg.


Investigators were able to further confirm the export of agricultural products using data from the Import Genius global import/export database and information obtained from a leak from Russian customs.

The report emphasises that in 2023, a number of Russian exporters removed at least 34,000 tonnes of grain worth €6.2 million from Kherson Oblast under the quota system created by the Russian authorities.

Kherson grain was reportedly exported to Azerbaijan, Türkiye, Syria and Iran, and peas from occupied Crimea were exported to Spain.


The article also says that wheat was exported to Azerbaijan by the Russian company Sim-Trans Group, which received permission to export 2,200 tonnes of wheat and meslin from the region under quotas.

"Another Russian company, Fregat Trading House, received a quota to export 3,000 tonnes of corn, which ended up in Syria. Pallada Private Limited Company received approval to export 11,000 tonnes of barley under the quota. It was shipped to the Iranian port of Bandar Imam Khomeini.

The carrier is the Mikhail Nenashev vessel, which has already appeared in the Skhemy material about the illegal export of grain," the investigation says.

Instead, Agro-Fregat, which was mentioned in the media as a participant in the scheme of illegal grain exports from the occupied territories, exported wheat and meslin to Türkiye. The same company shipped 4,500 tonnes of peas to Spain in September 2023, 2,600 of which were loaded in occupied Sevastopol.

None of the companies responded to the requests before the investigation was published.

Skhemy recalls that three months after the annexation of four oblasts of Ukraine, the Russian government issued Resolution No. 2535 dated 30 December 2022, which, on the one hand, established quotas (limits) for the export of agricultural products from the occupied territories with a customs "discount" and, on the other hand, established a mechanism for the export of these products.

"According to the decree, Russian companies that want to export with a zero or reduced export duty rate and sell, for example, wheat, barley, corn or sunflower meal to third countries must apply to the ‘head of the oblast’ following the rules established by him.

In the case of the occupied [part of] Kherson Oblast, a special commission was set up to distribute quotas. It considers the application and then votes, and Vladimir Saldo, the head of the occupation administration, authorise the decision," the article says.

It is noted that in June 2022, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine announced that it had launched an investigation into the illegal export of grain from the territories of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts. At the same time, the Skhemy managed to establish the routes used by trucks from the southern occupied oblasts to ports in Crimea, where the grain is loaded onto ships.

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