Ukraine Hasn't Seen This Sight Since Feb. 24

The first ship leaves the Black Sea port of Odessa under deal with Russia
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2022 6:30 AM CDT
Ukraine Hasn't Seen This Sight Since Feb. 24
The bulk carrier Razoni starts its way from the port in Odesa, Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022.   (AP Photo/Michael Shtekel)

(Newser) – A ship carrying nearly 30,000 tons of corn set sail on Monday and received widespread press in the process. That's because it's the first ship carrying Ukrainian grain to leave the country under a deal with Russia brokered by the UN and Turkey and designed to ease the global food crisis. "The first grain ship since Russian aggression has left port," Ukraine's Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted, noting it was the first ship to leave that port since Feb. 24; an accompanying video shows the cargo ship sounding its horn.

The Sierra Leone-flagged vessel, the Razoni, will dock Tuesday afternoon in Istanbul for an inspection by a joint team of Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, and UN officials, reports the AP. Its final destination is Lebanon, which is suffering from a devastating financial crisis. The BBC observes that "the operation will have to last for a sustained period for either Ukraine's damaged economy or tens of millions of people around the world to benefit." Kubrakov says another 16 ships that have been blocked by Russia are poised to depart, and he sounded an optimistic note: "Unlocking ports will provide at least $1 billion in foreign exchange revenue to the economy and an opportunity for the agricultural sector to plan for next year."

The deal, which was two months in the making and signed July 22, covers a 120-day period during which Russia has agreed not to attack the ships or ports. It can be extended if both Ukraine and Russia agree to do so. CNN reports that once this ship is cleared in Turkey, a schedule will be established for additional shipments. The Guardian reports Ukraine is said to be sitting on more than 20 million tons of grain. (The day after the deal was signed, the port was attacked.)

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