By John Ikani
The first shipment of Ukrainian grain has left the Black Sea port of Odesa in a move hailed by Kyiv and Moscow.
Turkish and Ukrainian officials said the ship left the southern port of Odesa early on Monday morning local time.
The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni, carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn, is destined for Lebanon will be jointly inspected off the coast of Istanbul under the terms of a UN-brokered deal.
“Ukraine, together with our partners, has taken another step today in preventing world hunger,” Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, said on Monday.
Kubrakov stressed that Ukraine had done “everything” to restore the ports and that the lifting of the blockade would give Ukraine’s economy $1bn in foreign exchange revenue.
The first 🇺🇦 grain ship since #RussianAggression has left port. Thanks to the support of all our partner countries & @UN we were able to full implement the Agreement signed in Istanbul. It’s important for us to be one of the guarantors of 🌏 food security. pic.twitter.com/jOz3bdmdfB
— Oleksandr Kubrakov (@OlKubrakov) August 1, 2022
Turkey’s defence ministry said more ships would follow.
Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest grain producers. About 20m tonnes of grain are reportedly stuck in Ukraine waiting to be exported.
The blockade has caused a worldwide grain shortage and price rises, which pushed some countries that are reliant on grain imports, namely in the Middle East and Africa, towards famine.