First large grain ship leaves Ukraine's Black Sea port since deal ended

Primeiro grande navio de grãos deixa porto da Ucrânia no Mar Negro desde o fim do acordo
Image: Freepik

The first large ship carrying grain from a Ukrainian Black Sea port has set sail since Moscow backed out of a deal in July to allow exports, a Ukrainian deputy prime minister said on Friday, as part of Kiev's campaign to break the Russian blockade.

The Aroyat “left the port of Chornomorsk after loading 17,600 (tons of) Ukrainian wheat for Egypt,” Oleksandr Kubrakov said on social media app X, formerly Twitter.

He posted a photo of the ship at sea.

This was the second of two bulk carriers to leave port this week using what Kiev calls a new temporary humanitarian corridor. The first, the much smaller Resilient Africa, set sail on Tuesday, testing the route with a payload of just 3,000 tonnes.

Dispute in Black Sea ports: Food blackmail and tensions in Ukraine

After invading Ukraine last year, Moscow closed the Black Sea ports of one of the world's biggest grain suppliers, in what Kiev and its Western backers called an attempt to use global food supplies as blackmail. Moscow said the ports could bring in weapons.

From July 2022, ports reopened under the UN-backed grain deal, allowing Russia to inspect ships for weapons. But Moscow gave up a year later and reimposed the blockade, saying its demands for better conditions for its own food and fertilizer exports were being ignored.

Last month, Ukraine announced a “humanitarian corridor” in the Black Sea. Initially, this corridor was used to clear ships not carrying grain. These ships were not covered by the grain agreement. They had been stuck in their ports for over a year.

So far, five vessels have left using the corridor, which encompasses the coasts of Romania and Bulgaria.

Kiev also maintained exports from the Danube river ports while its Black Sea ports were closed. Russia has launched frequent drone and missile attacks. These attacks targeted Ukrainian grain export infrastructure. Ukraine and its allies consider these attacks unjustified. Moscow says it hits military targets.

Odesa's three seaports, Chornomorsk included, played a crucial role during the Russian invasion. They shipped tens of millions of tons of grain under a UN agreement. Russia later abandoned this agreement.

Source: Pavel Polityuk | Notícias Agrícolas

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