0245 GMT August 18, 2022
The breakthrough follows a United Nations-backed deal between Kyiv and Moscow last month and while intense fighting continues in the east and the south. The departure of the first shipment will raise hopes that the impact of the war – now five months old – might be eased for millions facing hunger and poverty across the world, NBC News reported.
Loaded with 26,000 tons of Ukrainian corn, the Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni began its journey early Monday through heavily mined waters beyond the Black Sea and toward the port of Tripoli in Lebanon, officials said.
Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, said in a Facebook post that the vessel would move along a safe corridor established by the U.N. and Turkey and observed by Russia's Navy.
Sixteen more ships that have been blocked since the beginning of the Russian military operation in Ukraine are also waiting to leave Odesa, Kubrakov added. He called the first ship’s departure “a colossal success for ensuring global food security.”
The European Union welcomed the departure of the grain shipment as a "first step" towards easing the food crisis, AFP reported.
But EU spokesman Peter Stano said Brussels still expects the "implementation of the whole deal and resumption of Ukrainian exports to the customers around the world."
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres also welcomed the departure of the first ship carrying Ukrainian grain.
"The secretary-general hopes that this will be the first of many commercial ships moving in accordance with the initiative signed, and that this will bring much-needed stability and relief to global food security, especially in the most fragile humanitarian contexts," the UN said in a statement.
The bulk carrier Razoni starts its way from the port in Odesa, Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. According to Ukraine's Ministry of Infrastructure, the ship under Sierra Leone's flag is carrying 26 thousand tons of Ukrainian corn to Lebanon. The first ship carrying Ukrainian grain set off from the port of Odesa on Monday under an internationally brokered deal and is expected to reach Istanbul on Tuesday, where it will be inspected, before being allowed to proceed. (AP Photo/