Free passage for the first grain transport from the Ukraine in months: the "Razoni" is allowed to set course for Lebanon after a successful inspection. Ukraine hopes more ships will follow soon. "Our goal now is continuity," says President Selenskyj.
A group of experts has inspected the first ship off Istanbul that has been able to leave Ukraine with a cargo of grain since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression. Around 20 experts from Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the UN were involved in the inspection of the Razoni freighter, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry. After the inspection, the ship can now continue to the Lebanese port of Tripoli.
Because of the Russian war of aggression, all grain exports from Ukraine from its Black Sea ports have been blocked in recent months. Most recently, Russia and Ukraine, mediated by Turkey and the UN, agreed on an agreement to break the blockade that had contributed to a global food crisis. Part of the agreement is to inspect the ships, especially to rule out arms shipments.
The "Razoni" took off from the Ukrainian port of Odessa on Monday morning with 26,000 tons of corn on board. It reached the entrance to the Bosphorus north of Istanbul on Tuesday. More ships are to follow in the future. "Our goal now is continuity," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday evening.
As a result of the war, up to 25 million tons of grain are blocked in Ukrainian ports. Ukraine and Russia are among the world's largest grain producers. Before the war began, both countries together supplied about 30 percent of the wheat traded worldwide. The export blockade hit poor countries in particular, which are heavily dependent on imports from Russia and Ukraine. In addition, grain prices had risen worldwide.
Grain has been exported from the war region since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression, but from Berdyansk in southeastern Ukraine on the Sea of Azov, an area occupied by Russia.