A ship carrying grain has left the Ukrainian port of Odessa under a new deal with Russia, in what officials have called “a day of relief for the world”.
The vessel left Ukraine’s Black Sea port en route to Lebanon, in wake of a deal facilitated by Turkey to allow safe passage for ships.
This comes after Russia invaded Ukraine in February and blockaded many of the country’s coastal port cities to prevent it from exporting its grain, wheat and other agricultural goods, which is a major part of its economy.
The blockade has put significant stress on the global economy, with many countries unable to get hold of affordable grain, sunflower oil and other products, leading to skyrocketing prices.
According to Reuters, 17 Ukrainian ships carrying 600,000 tons of cargo are docked in the Black Sea, with more ships to follow today’s.
The grain and fertiliser export deal was arranged by Turkey and the United Nations, and was praised by Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba today, who called it “a day of relief for the world.”
Kuleba said on Twitter: “The day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, as the first Ukrainian grain leaves Odesa after months of Russian blockade.”
Its Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said. “Today Ukraine, together with its partners, makes another step to prevent world hunger.”
The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni will travel to Lebanon, as Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said the vessel would anchor off Istanbul, before being inspected by a team with representatives from all parties to the deal.
“It will then continue as long as no problems arise,” Akar said.