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1st ship with Ukrainian grain leaves Odesa
Journal Staff Report

KYIV, Aug 1 - The first ship carrying Ukrainian grain set out Monday from the port of Odesa under an internationally brokered deal to unblock the embattled countrys agricultural exports and ease the growing global food crisis.

The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni sounded its horn as it departed with over 26,000 tons of corn destined for Lebanon, The Associated Press reported.

The first grain ship since Russian aggression has left port, Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov declared on Twitter.

Russia and Ukraine signed agreements in Istanbul with Turkey and the U.N. on July 22, clearing the way for Ukraine to export 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural products that have been stuck in Black Sea ports because of Russias invasion of Ukraine more than five months ago. The deals also allow Russia to export grain and fertilizer.

As part of the agreements, safe corridors through the mined waters outside Ukraines ports were established.

Ukraine and Russia are major global suppliers of wheat, barley, corn and sunflower oil, with the fertile Black Sea region long known as the breadbasket of Europe. The holdup of shipments because of the war has worsened rising food prices worldwide and threatened hunger and political instability in developing nations.

President Volodymyr Zelensky sounded a cautious note. Calling the shipment the first positive signal that there is a chance to stop the spread of a food crisis in the world, he also urged international partners to closely monitor Moscows compliance with the deal.

We cannot have the illusions that Russia will simply refrain from trying to disrupt Ukrainian exports, Zelensky said.

Under the agreements, ships going in and out of Ukrainian ports will be subject to inspection to make sure that incoming vessels are not carrying weapons and that outgoing ones are bearing only grain, fertilizer or related food items, not any other commodities.

The Razoni was scheduled to dock early Wednesday in Istanbul, where teams of Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and U.N. officials were set to board it for inspection.

More ships are expected to leave from Ukraines ports through the safe corridors. At Odesa, 16 more vessels, all blocked since Russias invasion on Feb. 24, were waiting their turn, with others to follow, Ukrainian authorities said.

But some shipping companies are not yet rushing to export food across the Black Sea as they assess the danger of mines and the risk of Russian rockets hitting grain warehouses and ports.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who proposed the grain deal in April, said the Razoni was loaded with two commodities in short supply: corn and hope.

Hope for millions of people around the world who depend on the smooth running of Ukraines ports to feed their families, he said. (ap/ez)




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