The first shipment of Ukrainian cereals leaves Odessa: a first step towards ending the food crisis
The first shipment of Ukrainian grain leaves Odessa: the first step towards ending the food crisis caused by Putin’s invasion
- First shipment of Ukrainian grain leaves port city of Odessa bound for Lebanon
- It comes after warring rivals signed a deal to end the global food crisis on July 23
- Razoni freighter carrying 26,000 tons of corn expected in Istanbul tomorrow
- Russia Blocks Ukrainian Ports, Triggering Global Food Crisis
The first shipment of Ukrainian grain has left the port city of Odessa following the agreement signed by Kyiv and Russia to alleviate the global food crisis.
The cargo ship Razoni, flying the flag of Sierra Leone, left the Black Sea port for Lebanon, the Turkish Defense Ministry said. A United Nations press release indicates that the Razoni is carrying more than 26,000 tons of maize.
It is hoped that this shipment will be the first in a long series to deliver much-needed grain to countries mainly in Africa and the Middle East facing food shortages and soaring prices.
Russia has been blockading Ukrainian Black Sea ports for more than five months now, preventing Ukrainian grain from reaching markets and even supposedly robbing it to export it.
“Today, Ukraine, together with its partners, takes another step towards preventing hunger in the world,” said Alexander Kubrakov, Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure.
“Unlocking ports will provide at least $1bn (£0.8bn) of foreign exchange earnings to the economy and an opportunity for the agricultural sector to plan for next year,” Mr Kubrakov said. .
A Ukrainian farmer works in a warehouse in Odessa, as the first ship leaves port carrying 26,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain
The Razoni is set to deliver the first shipment of grain from Tripoli to Beirut after Russia and Ukraine separately signed an agreement to revive grain exports to the Black Sea
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits the port of Odessa in Ukraine on July 29
Data from Razoni’s Automatic Identification System, a vessel safety tracking system at sea, showed the ship slowly pulling out of its berth at the port of Odessa on Monday morning alongside a tugboat.
The ship is expected to reach Istanbul on Tuesday, where it will be inspected, before being allowed to continue, the ministry said.
Other convoys would follow, with 16 other ships waiting to depart, respecting the maritime corridor and the formalities agreed in accordance with the agreement reached with Russia on July 22, Turkey said.
This historic agreement, which Ukraine and Russia each signed separately with Turkey and the United Nations, aimed to ease the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports.
It aims to free 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural products that have been stuck in Black Sea ports for shipment to desperately needed countries in Africa and the Middle East.
However, the day after the deal was signed, Russia launched cruise missiles at the port of Odessa that hit storage facilities there, calling into question Putin’s good faith in the deal.
The corn will be heading to Tripoli in Lebanon. A 2020 explosion at its main port of Beirut shattered its capital and destroyed grain silos there, part of which collapsed on Sunday following a week-long fire.
Ukrainian firefighters fight a fire on a burning boat in the port of Odessa after missiles hit the port on July 23
The strike came a day after Kyiv and Moscow signed a historic deal reached during months of negotiations aimed at alleviating a global food crisis
The Turkish ministry statement said other ships would also leave Ukrainian ports through security corridors in accordance with agreements signed in Istanbul on July 22, but did not provide further details.
Turkey officially opened a special joint coordination center in Istanbul last Wednesday to oversee exports. The center is made up of civilian and military officials from the two warring parties and delegates from Turkey and the UN.
Their main task is to monitor the safe passage of Ukrainian grain vessels along established routes and oversee their inspection of prohibited weapons entering and leaving the Black Sea.
The blockage of deliveries from two of the world’s largest grain exporters has contributed to a price spike that has made food imports prohibitive for some of the world’s poorest countries.
According to UN estimates, nearly 50 million people have begun to face “acute hunger” around the world as a direct result of the war.
Wheat prices fell sharply hours after the grain deal was signed. The agreements also allow Russia to export grain and fertilizers.