August 17, 2022

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The first Ukrainian grain shipment awaits inspection near Istanbul

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A team of Russian and Ukrainian officials is due to inspect near Istanbul on Wednesday the first shipment of grain exported by Ukraine since the start of the war on February 24, under an agreement signed by Kyiv and Moscow in July to curb the global food crisis.

The Sierra Leonean-flagged cargo ship “Razoni” surfaced in the Black Sea on Tuesday off the northern coast of Istanbul, a day after leaving the Ukrainian port of Odessa, carrying 26,000 tons of corn bound for Tripoli, Lebanon. .

A joint team of Russian and Ukrainian officials will inspect the ship on Wednesday morning at the entrance to the Bosphorus Strait, in line with Russia’s desire to confirm its identity, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.

Since the beginning of the war, grain exports have left Ukraine, but only from Perdyansk (southeast), located on the Sea of ​​Azov, a region occupied by the Russians.

“Now our goal is regulation (…) stability and regulation are essential principles for consumers of our agricultural production,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his daily address on Tuesday.

On Monday, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “warmly” welcomed Razoni’s visit, saying he hoped the resumption of Ukrainian exports, allowed by an international agreement, would bring “the stability and assistance needed to ensure global food security.”

16 ships

French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the continuation of “European efforts” to help Ukraine export its grain during a meeting with the Ukrainian president on Monday.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said 16 other ships loaded with grain were “waiting their turn” to leave the main Ukrainian port of Odessa on the Black Sea, where, before the war, 60 percent of the country’s port activity was concentrated.

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An agreement signed by Russia and Ukraine on July 22, brokered by Turkey and under the auspices of the United Nations, allows the re-export of Ukrainian grain to world markets, which has been banned since the start of the war, under international supervision.

In particular, the document mentions the establishment of safe corridors for merchant ships to sail in the Black Sea and to export twenty to 25 million tons of grain.

“Let’s hope that all parties will implement the agreements and that the mechanisms will work effectively,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

A similar deal was signed to guarantee Russia’s exports of agricultural products and fertilizers despite Western sanctions.

These two agreements will help alleviate the global food crisis caused by rising food prices in some of the world’s poorest countries.

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