Grain ship departs Ukraine port for first time since Russian blockade
A ship carrying grain left Ukraine's port of Odesa on the Black Sea on Monday.
Why it matters: The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship the Razoni is the first vessel to leave a Ukrainian port under an agreement between Ukraine and Russia, which was brokered by the United Nations with the help of Turkey.
- Russian military blockades of Ukrainian ports have worsened a growing global food crisis, particularly in African countries, Axios' Dave Lawler notes.
Details: The Razoni is carrying more than 26,000 tons of corn and was due to arrive in Turkish territorial waters on Tuesday before "proceeding to its final destination in Tripoli, Lebanon," according to a UN statement.
- Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted that the Razoni is the first such ship to leave Odessa since Russia's military began its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
What they're saying: A spokesperson for UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement welcomed the departure of the first vessel to leave Ukraine under the Black Sea Grain Initiative signed in Istanbul last month.
- "Ensuring that existing grain and foodstuffs can move to global markets is a humanitarian imperative," the spokesperson said.
- "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."
What's next: Turkey's Defence Ministry said in a statement that more grain ships would later depart via safe corridors, as agreed to in the landmark Istanbul deal.
- The UN's World Food Programme plans to "purchase, load and ship" an initial 30,000 tons of wheat out of Ukraine on a UN-chartered vessel," according to the UN spokesperson.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.