Russia is smuggling food from Ukraine to help finance Putin's war.

Ukrainian diplomats said that the bulk cargo ship Laodicea was carrying grain that had been stolen by Russia when it arrived in Lebanon last summer.

Moscow referred to the accusation as "false and unjustified," and Lebanon's chief prosecutor agreed.

And ruled that the 10,000 tonnes of barley and wheat flour weren't stolen, allowing the ship to unload.

But an investigation has revealed that the Laodicea, which is owned by Syria, is a part of a highly organised smuggling ring that is operated by Russia.

That has stolen Ukrainian grain worth at least $530 million by using fake manifests and seaborne deception.

The 138-meter-long (453-foot) Laodicea likely began its voyage in the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol, carrying grain and wheat.

Social media videos from July 9 show a train driving up to the enormous grain storage facility Melitopol Elevator with green hopper carriages bearing the name of the Russian firm.

Trucks unloaded wheat at the milling facility, and a masked soldier with an assault rifle stood guard.

Large white sacks resembling those carried by the Laodicea three weeks later to Lebanon were filled with flour by workers.

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