Russia’s repurposed merchants
Old merchants supporting Russian campaign.
Russia supplies Syria mission with old cargo ships bought from Turkey
By Jonathan Saul and Maria Tsvetkova
Earlier this year, an old refrigerator ship called the Georgiy Agafonov, built to transport fruit and vegetables for the Soviet Union, was quietly gathering rust in the Ukrainian port of Izmail where the Danube flows into the Black Sea.
Its owners, a Ukrainian state company, assumed it would never sail again. When a Turkish company offered to buy it for $300,000, they watched as the hulk was towed away, presumably for scrap. Nine months later the ship is back at sea, renamed Kazan-60, reflagged as part of Russia’s naval auxiliary fleet, and repurposed as an unlikely part of Moscow’s biggest military operation outside the old Soviet boundaries since the Cold War.
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