The first Ukrainian grain ship leaves Odessa since the start of the war

  • The first Ukrainian grain ship went to Lebanon
  • Turkey says more ships will arrive
  • Russian missiles hit Mykolaiv port
  • Ukrainian grain magnate Oleksiy Vadatursky was killed in Mykolaiv
  • Putin’s maritime ambitions include the Black Sea and the Arctic

KYIV, Aug 1 (Reuters) – A ship carrying grain left Ukraine’s Odesa port on Monday under a safe passage agreement for foreign markets, a Ukrainian minister said, the first departure since a Russian invasion banned shipping through the Black Sea five months ago. .

The cruise was made possible after Turkey and the United States signed a grain and fertilizer export deal between Russia and Ukraine last month.

“The first grain ship left the port after #RussianAggression. Thanks to the support of all our partner countries and @UN we were able to fully implement the agreement signed in Istanbul,” Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Twitter.

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The Turkish Defense Minister said earlier that the Sierra Leonean-flagged ship Razoni, loaded with maize, would sail to Lebanon. More ships will come, he said.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has led to a global food and energy crisis and the United Nations has warned of the risk of multiple famines this year.

Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of world wheat exports. But Western sanctions on Russia and fighting off Ukraine’s eastern seaboard have prevented grain ships from safely leaving ports.

The agreement aims to allow safe passage of grain exports in and out of the ports of Chornomorsk, Odessa and Pivtenny.

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Ukrainian presidential officials said 17 ships with nearly 600,000 tons of cargo were docked in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Among them, 16 ships had about 5,80,000 tons of Ukrainian grain.

Moscow has denied responsibility for the food crisis, accusing Western sanctions of reducing exports and Ukraine mining approaches to its ports.

Bombardment of ports

Despite the improvement in grain exports, the war was elsewhere.

On Sunday, Russian missiles fired from the Black Sea at the port city of Mykolayiv, at the mouth of the Pukh River, bordering the mostly Russian-occupied Kherson region.

Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said more than 12 rocket attacks – possibly the most powerful on the city in the five-month war – hit homes and schools, killing two people and wounding three others.

Ukrainian grain magnate Oleksiy Vadatursky, founder and owner of the agricultural company Nibulon and his wife were killed in their home, Mykolayiv Governor Vitaly Kim said in a telegram.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described Vadatursky’s death as “a great loss for all of Ukraine”.

Zelensky said the businessman, one of Ukraine’s wealthiest — Forbes estimates his 2021 net worth at $430 million — is building a modern grain market with transshipment terminals and an elevator network.

“These people, these institutions, precisely in the south of Ukraine, have guaranteed the world’s food security,” Zelensky said in his night speech. “It’s always been like that. It’ll be like that once again.”

Zelenskiy said Ukraine may harvest only half of its usual amount this year due to agricultural disruptions caused by the war. Farmers have reported trying to harvest their fields and nearby towns and villages amid Russian shelling.

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Zelensky said Russia is moving some forces from the eastern Donbass region to the southern Kherson and Zaporizhia regions.

Failing to capture the capital Kiev quickly at the beginning of the war, Russia turned its forces to the east and south of Ukraine.

Russia invaded Ukraine in what it called a “special operation” to militarize its neighbors. Ukraine and the West have dismissed it as a baseless pretext for war.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and Kyiv says Moscow is seeking to annex Crimea in the south by doing the same in the Donbas region. Russian-backed separatists controlled parts of the region before the invasion.

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Report by Reuters Bureau; Written by Michael Perry and Angus MacSwan; Editing by Nick MacPhee

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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