Russia sends grain stolen from Ukraine to Syrian ports – Corriere.it

Russia sends grain stolen from Ukraine to Syrian ports – Corriere.it
Russia sends grain stolen from Ukraine to Syrian ports – Corriere.it

The Syria Express, which served to bring supplies and weapons to the Assad regime, now transports agricultural products to be sold on a hungry market: a confirmation of the Kremlin’s “game” in the region

Once upon a time there was the Syria Express, a shuttle of merchant ships and military units that transported material, soldiers, supplies from Russia to Syria. It was the support to save Bashar Assad’s regime besieged by rebels. The mission has paid off, the ally is still on the throne. Now there would be a new Syria Express: in the holds of the cargoes crates of arms have decreased, in their place agricultural products stolen from Ukraine. According to many sources, Moscow has sent about 100,000 tons of wheat to the friendly country, a “fraction” of the 600,000 they would have got their hands on after the invasion. Loads to sell on a hungry market. The figures were provided by Kiev, denied by the Kremlin, partly confirmed by international circles.

The movements of the freighters were often followed through the web with the help of experts and satellite photos. In mid-May, the movements of the Matros Pozynich and the Matros Koshka were traced, both apparently involved in traffic, ready to implement the usual misdirection maneuvers and tactics. One initially headed for Egypt – Cairo is heavily dependent on grain imports – but the Zelensky government warned the authorities and then the ship headed for Beirut. In the end, though, the airport of arrival was the Syrian one of Latakia.

The dots on the radar screens connect two strategic circles.

The first is represented by what happens in the eastern part of Europe, from the Donbass to the southern coasts. The invaders destroy, try to impose their control and aim to impoverish Ukraine by any means. They also want to reap any benefits emptying the silos full of grain. And when they do not succeed, they target them as has happened in the last few hours in Mykolaiv, where some deposits would have been damaged by missile launches.

The second circle is embodied by Syria, with its important role for the regional dynamics of the superpower. The neo-tsar sent Wagner’s private military and soldiers to prevent the collapse of the Assads, but also to reconstitute an outpost in the Mediterranean. It has deployed a small contingent, has the air base in Khmeimim, listening stations for intelligence dueling with the western ones in Cyprus, the ports of Tartus and Latakia: here, in particular, Russia – which has ports on the continent only on the Black, Northern and Baltic Seas – it has gained a strategic outlet in the Mediterranean. And the Syrian conflict has also become a kind of real shooting range: Kalibr cruises fired by corvettes on Ukrainian targets have been previously tested against anti-Assad insurgents.

Putin, complicit in the deep local tensions, it has carved out a space for itself, has a say in many dossiers, moves in parallel with Iran, ally-competitor in Middle Eastern theater. They are united in protecting Damascus, but each pursues their own interests and returns to align themselves in opposition to the US. Contacts are frequentForeign Minister Sergei Lavrov traveled to Tehran to strengthen cooperation.

Interesting, then, it is the “game” with Israel. Kiev asked Jerusalem to supply important weapons systems, but the Jewish state refused fearing consequences on the neighboring front. In fact, Moscow has never hindered Israeli raids on Iranian targets, was limited – except on very rare occasions – to verbal protests despite having control of the anti-aircraft shield. Here because an extended hand (concrete, not words) from Israel to Zelensky could trigger a different attitude from Putin’s pragmatism towards Israel itself. And some veiled signals would have already been there a few weeks ago, with the alleged firing of an S300 missile during an Israeli raid.

June 23, 2022 (change June 23, 2022 | 19:54)

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The article is in Italian

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