After a historic agreement between Russia and Ukraine, the first grain ship leaves the port of Odessa

The Razoni ship left the port of Odessa bound for Tripoli in Lebanon | Twitter/@OlKubrakov

In line with a historic agreement signed earlier this month, the first shipment of Ukrainian grain left the port of Odessa on Monday as part of a deal to ease a global food crisis following the invasion of its neighbor by Russia, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.

“The Razoni vessel left the port of Odessa bound for Tripoli in Lebanon. It is expected in Istanbul on August 2. It will then continue its journey after being inspected in Istanbul,” the ministry said.

The ship was carrying 26,000 tons of corn, according to Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.

Russia has been blocking Ukrainian ports since February, but the two sides have reached a deal to resume shipments.

It is hoped that the agreement will ease the global food crisis and lower grain prices.

In a statement released ahead of the ship’s departure, Turkey said the Sierra Leone-flagged vessel would dock in Lebanon, adding that further shipments were planned over the coming weeks.

Istanbul’s Joint Coordination Center (JCC) set up under the deal said the vessel was carrying some 26,000 tonnes of maize and was due to arrive in Turkish waters for inspection on Tuesday.

“Today Ukraine, together with its partners, takes another step towards preventing world hunger,” Kubrakov wrote on Facebook.

“Unlocking ports will provide at least $1 billion in foreign exchange earnings to the economy and an opportunity for the agricultural sector to plan for next year.”

Kubrakov added that another 16 ships are waiting to depart from ports in the Odessa region in the coming weeks.

Turkey officially opened a special joint coordination center in Istanbul last Wednesday to oversee exports. The center is made up of civilian and military officials from the two warring parties and delegates from Turkey and the UN.

Their main task is to monitor the safe passage of Ukrainian grain vessels along established routes and oversee their inspection of prohibited weapons entering and leaving the Black Sea.

The blockage of deliveries from two of the world’s largest grain exporters has contributed to a price spike that has made food imports prohibitive for some of the world’s poorest countries.

According to UN estimates, nearly 50 million people have begun to face “acute hunger” around the world as a direct result of the war.

(with agency contributions)

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