The first shipment of Ukrainian grain left the port of Odessa on August 1 under a UN-brokered deal, Ukraine and Turkey said, offering grounds for cautious optimism about the possibility of avert an impending global food crisis.
Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the freighter Razoni, flying the flag of Sierra Leone, left Odessa on the morning of August 1. The Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement that the ship was expected in Istanbul on August 2.
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“The first grain ship since the #Russianaggression has left port. Thanks to the support of all our partner countries and the UN, we were able to fully implement the agreement signed in Istanbul,” Kubrakov said. wrote on Twitter.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba hailed the departure of the first shipment of grain as a “relief for the world”.
“A day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as the first grain of Ukraine leaves Odessa after months of Russian blockade. Ukraine has always been a partner reliable and will remain so if Russia respects it is part of the agreement,” Kuleba tweeted.
The Joint Coordination Center, the Istanbul-based organization that oversees exports, said the Razoni carries “over 26,000 metric tons” of grain.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told the state-run Anadolu news agency on August 1 that the Razoni would drop anchor off Istanbul around 12:00 GMT on August 2 for a joint inspection.
UN chief Antonio Guterres “warmly” welcomed the news, a spokesman said Aug. 1.
“The Secretary-General hopes that this will be the first of many commercial vessels to move in accordance with the signed initiative, and that it will bring much-needed stability and relief to global food security, especially in the most fragile humanitarian contexts” , the UN said in a statement.
Ukraine and Russia signed agreements with Turkey and the United Nations on July 22 to release three of Ukraine’s ports – Odessa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhne – which had been blocked since Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine in late february.
The deal paved the way for the shipment of millions of tonnes of grain and fertilizer as most countries around the world are on the brink of a major food crisis.
Meanwhile, more than 20 million tonnes of grain from last year’s harvest still awaits export, according to data from Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said last week that Ukraine was ready to start shipping the millions of tons of grain that are in its southern ports.
Ukraine and Russia are two of the largest grain exporters in the world.
News of the expected resumption of grain shipments came as Russian missiles pounded the port city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine on July 31, killing the owner of a major grain exporter, while drone strike hit Russian Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol.
Oleksiy Vadaturskiy, 74, founder and owner of the agricultural company Nibulon, and his wife were killed when a missile hit their house, Mykolaiv Governor Vitaliy Kim announced on Telegram.
Based in Mykolayiv, a strategically important city bordering the Russian-occupied Kherson region, Nibulon specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn. The company maintains its own fleet and its own shipyard.
Zelenskiy described the death of Vadaturskiy, who received the “Hero of Ukraine” award, as a great loss.
The southern Ukrainian town of Nikopol also came under heavy attack, Dnipro Governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram.
He said up to 50 Grad rockets hit residential areas in Nikopol on July 31, injuring a man and damaging houses and gas and water pipes.
In eastern Ukraine, Russia continued to attempt tactical assaults on the axis of Bakhmut, northeast of Donetsk, the British Ministry of Defense said in its statement. daily newsletter on August 1, adding that the Russians only managed to make slow progress.
British intelligence has suggested that Russia is likely adjusting its offensive in Donbass after failing to make a decisive operational breakthrough under the plan it has been following since April.
Zelenskiy called on the remaining residents of the Donetsk region to urgently evacuate in what he called a “government decision”.
“Everything is being organised. Full support, full assistance – both logistical and payment. We only need a decision from the people themselves, who haven’t yet on their own,” he said in his July 31 evening address.
“The sooner it is done, the more people leave the Donetsk region now, the less the Russian army will have time to kill,” Zelenskiy said.
In Russian-occupied Sevastopol, five Russian navy personnel were injured in an explosion after a suspected drone flew into the yard of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the port city’s governor has said from Crimea to Moscow, Mikhail Razvozhayev, to the Russian media.