ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The first ship carrying Ukrainian grain left the port of Odessa on Monday under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey that is expected to free up large stores of the Ukrainian crop for foreign markets and ease growing hunger. Crisis.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said the Sierra Leonean-flagged cargo ship Razoni left Odessa for Lebanon. According to a United Nations report, Rasoni carried 26,000 tons of corn.
Data from the automatic identification system of Razoni, a safety watchdog for ships at sea, showed the vessel slowly pulling out from its berth in the Port of Odessa on Monday morning, accompanied by a tugboat.
Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, tweeted a video of the long cargo ship honking its horn as it headed out to sea.
“The first grain ship left the port after the Russian occupation,” Kubrakov said on Twitter. “Thanks to the support of all our partner countries and the UN, we were able to fully implement the agreement signed in Istanbul. It is important for us to be one of the guarantors of food safety,” he said.
The ship is expected to reach Istanbul on Tuesday, where it will be inspected before being allowed to sail, the ministry said.
The corn will then go to Lebanon, a small Middle Eastern country in the grip of what the World Bank has described as one of the world’s worst financial crises in more than 150 years. A 2020 explosion at its main port in Beirut tore through its capital and destroyed grain bins there, part of which collapsed on Sunday following a week-long fire.
As Razoni moved towards the open waters of the Black Sea, it changed its destination from Istanbul to Tripoli, Lebanon.
Other ships will also depart from Ukrainian ports, the Turkish ministry said in a statement through secure corridors in line with agreements signed in Istanbul on July 22, but did not provide further details.
Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements with Turkey and the United Nations – clearing the way for Ukraine to become one of the world’s main breadbaskets. – To export 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural products stuck in Black Sea ports due to the Russian invasion.
These agreements allow the export of grain and fertilizers to Russia.
Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said 16 more ships, blocked since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24, were waiting their turn in Odessa ports.
The export will also help Ukraine’s war-torn economy, Kubrakov said.
“The open ports will provide the economy with at least $1 billion in foreign exchange earnings and will give the agricultural sector an opportunity to plan for next year,” Kubrakov said.
The United Nations welcomed the development, with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying it was the first of many merchant ships carrying Ukrainian grain abroad and would “bring much-needed stability and relief to global food security and humanitarian conditions.”
Grain exports resumed as fighting broke out elsewhere in Ukraine.
At least three civilians have been killed and 16 others wounded in Russian shelling in the Donetsk region over the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s presidential office said.
Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrilenko again issued a strong call for all residents to evacuate. He particularly emphasized the need to evacuate the approximately 52,000 children still remaining in the region.
In the city of Kharkiv, two people were injured in a Russian attack in the morning. One person was injured while waiting for a bus at a bus stop, and another was injured when a Russian shell exploded near an apartment building.
The southern city of Mykolayiv has faced repeated shelling, which sparked fires near a medical facility and destroyed humanitarian aid, including medicine and food.
Analysts warned that continued fighting could threaten the grain deal and unnerve consumers.
“The risk is there: the Odesa region has faced constant shelling and only regular deliveries can demonstrate the credibility of the signed agreements,” said Volodymyr Sydenko, an expert at the Kyiv-based Razumkov Center think tank.
“The departure of the first ship will not solve the food crisis, this is the first step if Russia decides to continue attacks in the south.”
Contributed by John Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
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