Ukraine’s infrastructure minister has said a grain-laden ship has left the port of Odessa for the first time since the start of the war.
“The first grain ship has left port since the Russian invasion,” wrote Alexander Kubrakov on Twitter.
“Thanks to the support of all our allies and the United Nations, we were able to fully implement the agreement signed in Istanbul.”
Russia and Ukraine Signed an agreement in July to reopen Black Sea ports Grain exports to resume – essential shipments to ease the growing global food crisis.
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Meanwhile, one of Ukraine’s richest men, a grain merchant, was killed by Ukrainian authorities in a carefully targeted Russian missile attack on his home.
Oleksiy Vadatursky was the founder and owner of Nibulon, which specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn and is headquartered in the port city of Mykolaiv – east of Odessa.
ship carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn
The Sierra Leone-flagged dry cargo ship Rajoni loaded with 26,000 tonnes of corn and left the port of Odessa at around 9.30am (7.30am UK time) on Monday to leave for Lebanon, Mr Kubrakov said.
The ship will be inspected in Istanbul before heading to Tripoli, Lebanon.
Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements with Turkey and the United Nations, clearing the way for Ukraine – one of the world’s leading breadbacks – to export 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural goods that were affected by the conflict. The reasons are stuck in the Black Sea ports.
Kubrakov said another 16 ships are waiting to depart Ukraine’s ports through secure corridors in line with the deals signed in Istanbul.
The purpose of the agreement is to allow for the safe passage of grain shipments in and out of Odessa, as well as the port of Kornomorsk and the nearby Pivdenyny.
The World Food Program also plans to purchase, load and ship an initial 30,000 metric tons of wheat from Ukraine on a UN chartered vessel.
A blockade cut supplies to markets around the world and raised grain prices since Russia’s Black Sea Fleet invaded its neighbor.
Many people in the world’s poorest regions depend on shipments from the Black Sea for food.
Moscow is denied responsibilityBlamed Ukraine for slowing its own food and fertilizer exports and the mining of its Black Sea ports for western sanctions.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said the conflict could cut Ukraine’s harvest to half its normal.
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He called the killing of Vadatursky “a great loss to all the people of Ukraine”.
“It is these people, these companies, right in the south of Ukraine, who have guaranteed the world’s food security,” he said.
According to Forbes, the businessman had a net worth of $430m (£350m) in 2021, and was building a modern grain market with a network of transshipment terminals and elevators.
Read more: Disappearing Ships – Russia’s Big Grain Plunder
Missile strikes hit Mykolaivo
In Mykolaiv, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said more than 12 missile strikes, the most powerful strikes the city has ever hit, affected homes and schools, with two people confirmed dead and three injured.
Russia suffered its own setback after a small explosive device carried by a makeshift drone exploded on Sunday at the headquarters of its Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol.
Officials said six people were injured, prompting the cancellation of the ceremony in honor of Russia’s navy.
Ukraine did not immediately claim responsibility – but the seemingly immediate, small-scale nature of the attack raised the possibility that it was the work of Ukrainian rebels trying to drive out Russian forces.