Ukraine Resumes Grain Shipments Under Agreement

Aug. 1, 2022
The first grain-laden cargo ship has left the Ukrainian port of Odesa since the start of the Russian invasion.

The first grain-laden cargo ship has left the Ukrainian port of Odesa since the start of the Russian invasion, signaling what is hoped will be an easing in obstacles to grain trading caused by the war.

Under an agreement between Russia and Ukraine brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, a Liberian-registry freighter with 26,000 metric tons of corn left Odesa on Aug. 1, bound for Tripoli. Ukrainian pilots guided the ship through mines at the port’s mouth; the Ukrainians had refused to remove the mines, saying they were a deterrent to further Russian attacks.

The 120-day agreement is aimed at reducing a backlog of wheat, corn, sunflower seeds and other commodities that had been piling up in Ukraine since the start of the war in February. Ukraine is a major grain exporter, with much of those exports going to nations in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world.

The deal calls for Russia to refrain from attacks on cargo ships carrying grain, and to not attack Odesa and two other Black Sea ports frequently used for shipments. Russia had attacked Odesa with rockets on July 23, a day after the agreement was signed, and Ukrainian officials expressed skepticism that Russia would uphold its end of the deal.

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