A first ship with Ukrainian grain left the port of Odesa on Monday, within an agreement with international mediation that is expected release large shipments of Ukrainian crops for international markets and alleviate a growing food crisis.
The United Nations welcomed the news and noted in a statement that its secretary general, António Guterres, was confident that it would be just the first of many boats that would bring Ukrainian grain abroad and “bring much-needed relief and stability to global food security, especially in the most fragile humanitarian contexts.”
The Razoni, with the flag of Sierra Leone, left Odessa in the direction of Lebanon, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry. A United Nations statement said the freighter was carrying 26,000 tons of corn.
Data from the Automatic Identification System, a shipping security tracking system, showed the ship slowly leaving its pier in the Odessa port Monday morning along with a tugboat.
The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni leaves Odessa. Photo: Reuters
Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted a video in which the great ship sounded the siren while heading to the sea.
“The first grain ship since the Russian aggression has left the port,” Kubrakov said on Twitter. “Thanks to the support of all our partner countries and the United Nations, we were able to fully implement the Agreement signed in Istanbul. For us it is important to be one of the guarantors of food safety”.
The Razoni was expected to arrive in Istanbul on Tuesday, where it would be inspected before being allowed to continue its journey, the ministry said.
The corn was destined for Lebanon, a small Middle Eastern country mired in what the World Bank has described as one of the worst financial crises in the world in more than 150 years. An explosion in 2020 at its main port in Beirut destroyed his cital and destroyed the grain silos. Part of that structure collsed on Sunday after a weeks-long fire.
The Razoni sails in the waters of the Black Sea with final destination Tripoli, Lebanon. Photo: EFE
Other ships will leave Ukrainian ports through safe corridors, under the terms of the agreement signed in Istanbul on July 22. Turkish authorities did not provide further details on Monday.
Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements with Turkey and the United Nations that paved the way for Ukraine, one of the world’s main breadbaskets, export 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural goods, blocked in Black Sea ports due to the Russian invasion.
The deal also allows Russia to export grain and fertilizer.
The Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure said that 16 more ships, all blocked Since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, they have been waiting their turn in the ports of Odessa.
Kubrakov noted that the shipment would also help the Ukrainian economy.
“Unblocking the ports will providel least one billion dollars in foreign exchange earnings for the economy and an opportunity for the agricultural sector to plan for the coming year,” the minister said.
the war front
Grain shipments resumed as fighting continued in other parts of Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said at least three civilians had been killed and 16 wounded by Russian shells in the Donetsk region in the previous 24 hours.
Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko repeated a strong warning that all residents will evacuate the area. He stressed the need to evacuate about 52,000 children who were still in the province.
In Kharkov, two people were injured by a Russian attack on Monday morning. One was injured while waiting for a bus at a stop, and another when a Russian shell exploded near an artment building.
A factory destroyed after a Russian attack in Kharkov. Photo: EFE
The southern city of Mykolaiv has also suffered repeated attacks that started fires near a medical compound, destroyed a humanitarian aid shipment with medicine and food.
Analysts continued that the fighting could be a risk to the grain dealwhich makes customers nervous.
“The danger remains: The Odessa region has been under constant attack and only regular supplies would prove the feasibility of the agreements signed,” said Volodymyr Sidenko, an expert at the kyiv-based Razumkov Center think tank.
“The departure of the first ship does not solve the food crisis, it is only the first step that could be the last if Russia decides to continue the attacks in the south,” he added.