First Ukrainian grain ship has departed, Turkey says

  • The first Ukrainian grain ship went to Lebanon
  • Turkey says more ships will arrive
  • Russian missiles hit Mykolayiv port
  • Ukrainian grain magnate Oleksiy Vadatursky was killed in Mykolaiv
  • Putin’s maritime ambitions include the Black Sea and the Arctic

KYIV, Aug 1 (Reuters) – The first ship to leave Ukraine with grain shipments since the start of the Russian invasion is set to depart on Monday under a guaranteed safe passage agreement and will continue, Turkey’s defense ministry said.

The ministry said the Sierra Leone-flagged vessel Razoni will depart from Odesa port with a cargo of corn bound for Lebanon.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has triggered a worldwide food and energy crisis that has rocked the global economy. The United Nations has warned of a global hunger crisis with a “real risk” of more famines this year.

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Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of world wheat exports. But Western sanctions on Russia and fighting off Ukraine’s eastern seaboard have prevented grain ships from safely leaving ports.

Razoni’s departure was made possible after Moscow, Kiev, Ankara and the United Nations signed a grain and fertilizer export deal in July. The agreement aims to allow safe passage of grain exports in and out of the ports of Chornomorsk, Odessa and Pivtenny.

“The Sierra Leonean-flagged cargo ship Razoni, loaded with corn, was agreed to leave Odessa port for Lebanon at 0830 am (0530 GMT) on August 1,” Turkey’s defense ministry said. On a note.

As part of the July agreement, it said, “the dispatch of other ships is planned within the limits of the determined corridor and method.”

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Ukrainian authorities say 17 ships with nearly 600,000 tons of cargo are docked in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Among them, 16 Ukrainian grains with a total volume of about 580,000 tons.

Russia has denied responsibility for the food crisis, blaming Western sanctions for slowing exports and Ukraine’s mining approaches to its ports.

Bombardment of ports

On Sunday, Russian missiles attacked the Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv in the Black Sea, and President Vladimir Putin signed a new naval doctrine that casts the United States as Russia’s main rival and sets out maritime ambitions in the Black Sea and the Arctic.

Putin did not mention the conflict in Ukraine during his Navy Day speech, but said the Navy would receive hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles in the coming months. These missiles can fly at nine times the speed of sound and outmaneuver air defences. read more

The Crimean port city’s governor, Mikhail Rasvozayev, told Russian media that Navy Day celebrations in the port of Sevastopol were disrupted after five Russian naval personnel were injured in an explosion after a suspected drone flew over the yard of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said more than 12 rocket attacks on Sunday, possibly the most powerful in the five-month war on the city, hit homes and schools, killing two people and wounding three others. Missile attacks continued till Sunday evening.

Ukrainian grain magnate Oleksiy Vadatursky, founder and owner of the agricultural company Nibulon and his wife were killed in their home, Mykolayiv Governor Vitaly Kim said in a telegram.

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Headquartered in the strategically important city of Mykolaiv on the border of the mostly Russian-occupied Kherson region, Nibulan specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, and has its own navy and shipyard.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described Vadatursky’s death as “a great loss for all of Ukraine”.

Zelensky added that one of Ukraine’s richest men — a businessman whose 2021 net worth is estimated by Forbes at $430 million — is building a modern grain market with a network of terminals and elevators.

“These people, these institutions, precisely in the south of Ukraine, have guaranteed the world’s food security,” Zelensky said in his night speech. “It’s always been like that. It’ll be like that once again.”

Ukraine may harvest only half its usual amount this year, Zelensky said, as agriculture is disrupted by Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II. Farmers have reported trying to harvest their fields amid Russian shelling.

Eastern Peril

After failing to capture the capital Kiev early in the war, Russia turned its attention to the east and south of Ukraine.

Zelensky said Russia is moving some forces from the eastern Donbass region to the southern Kherson and Zaporizhia regions.

“As explained by Ukrainian officials last week, Russia may redeploy a significant number of its forces from the northern Donbass sector to southern Ukraine,” the British Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update.

It said Russia was adjusting the operational design of its Donbass offensive and that its Zaporizhzhia front was vulnerable and needed reinforcement.

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Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and Ukraine says it is trying to annex Crimea by doing the same with the Donbass region. Russian-backed separatists controlled parts of the region before the invasion.

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Report by Reuters Bureau; Written by Michael Perry; Editing by Robert Birzel

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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