Wednesday August 03, 2022

First Ukrainian grain shipment since invasion set for inspection in Türkiye

First Ukrainian grain shipment since invasion set for inspection in Türkiye

The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni, carrying Ukrainian grain, is seen near Istanbul, Türkiye, on Wednesday. Reuters

A team of Russian and Ukrainian officials in Türkiye is due on Wednesday to inspect the first shipment of grain exported from Ukraine since Moscow's invasion under a deal aimed at curbing a global food crisis.

The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni arrived at the edge of the Bosphorus Strait just north of Istanbul on Tuesday, a day after leaving the Black Sea port of Odesa carrying 26,000 tonnes of maize bound for Lebanon.


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The ship sailed through a specially cleared corridor in the mine-infested waters of the Black Sea, which had been under a Russian blockade.

It is due to be inspected on Wednesday by a team that includes Russian and Ukrainian officials, in accordance with Russia's wish to ascertain the nature of the cargo, the Turkish defence ministry said.

First Ukrainian grain shipment since invasion set for inspection in Türkiye
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks in Kyiv. File photo

The Razoni set sail under a deal brokered by Türkiye and the United Nations to lift Russia's naval blockade of the Black Sea and allow the shipment of millions of tonnes of produce to world markets to help curb a global food crisis.

The UN secretary-general's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he hoped for "more outbound movement" on Wednesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he wished for "regularity" in shipments.

"When one ship leaves the port, there are other ships as well — both those loading and those approaching the port," he said in his nightly address on Tuesday.

"Continuity and regularity is the necessary principle. All consumers of our agricultural products need it."

UN chief Antonio Guterres on Monday "warmly" welcomed the departure of the Razoni, expressing hope "this will bring much-needed stability and relief to global food security especially in the most fragile humanitarian contexts".

The halt of deliveries from Ukraine — one of the world's biggest grain exporters — has contributed to soaring food prices, hitting the world's poorest nations especially hard.

Kyiv says at least 16 more grain ships are waiting to depart.

But it also accuses Russia of stealing Ukrainian grain in territories seized by Kremlin forces and then shipping it to allied countries in Africa and the Middle East, such as Syria.

Russia attacked the Odesa port from which the Razoni set off less than 24 hours after the grain deal was signed in Istanbul on July 22, putting the safety of future deliveries in doubt.

Agence France-Presse

 

 

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