Russia selling Ukraine grain

Russia is attempting to get around Western sanctions on the sale of grain. Photo by Supplied

Authorities in a part of Ukraine seized by Russia are using “cunning schemes” to sell grain despite Western sanctions, Moscow’s state-run RIA news agency reports.

Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing grain from the territories Moscow occupied since launching what it calls a special military operation in February.

The war threatens to cause severe food shortages as Russia and Ukraine account for about 29 per cent of global wheat exports.

Vladimir Rogov, a member of the administration in the south-eastern Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, was quoted by RIA as saying grain was being sold to Middle Eastern and African nations.

"They are afraid of sanctions but nevertheless buy our grain with joy — of course, through intermediaries and cunning schemes," RIA quoted Mr Rogov as telling Russian television.

Mr Rogov said there were 1.5 million tonnes of grain in the region.

He did not say whether any of the grain had been delivered to customers.

Last week the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut said Russia had sent its ally Syria an estimated 100,000 tonnes of stolen wheat, describing the shipments as “criminal activity”.

Russia and Ukraine are in a deadlock over grain exports from Ukrainian ports.

Russia has seized large parts of Ukraine's coast, blocking farm exports and driving up the cost of grain.

Moscow blames the global food crisis on sanctions restricting its own grain exports.