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Global Food Crisis- Ukraine Grain Ships Sail As Russia Clears Blockade

After weeks of negotiations brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, Ukraine’s first grain ship, The Razoni, sails for Lebanon at the Odessa port in Ukraine, the European Union describes the move as a welcome first step towards mitigating the global food crisis enhanced by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.  


The Sierra Leone-flagged bulk carrier transporting 26,000 tonnes of corn is the first vessel to leave Odessa since Russia invaded Ukraine’s borders in February. It was to depart on Monday and arrive at the Black Sea by Tuesday to undergo checks from Ankara border security, officials from Russia, Ukraine, and the UN at the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul.


However, early problems at sea resulted in a 24 hours delay. The Razoni crew is to arrive at the Black sea in Istanbul today, before departure into world markets- execution of the Black Sea grain initiative that aims at safely exporting commercial foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukrainian ports. The journey to Lebanon is forecast to last for a week.


The Razoni is just one of 17 ships awaiting departure from Odessa and two other ports, according to the Ukrainian government. The agreement allows for one Ukrainian ship to sail per day. The Joint Coordination Center sees to its implementation.  


Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the deal a “relief” for large importers of Ukraine grain in the Middle East and Asia. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told the press that the body hopes that “there will be some outbound movement” in the deal that he describes as “delicate, complex and complicated.”


The EU said it expects the entire agreement to reach a complete execution as soon as possible to quickly implement action plans against the food crisis “enhanced by Russia’s illegitimate aggression and blockage of Ukrainian ports in addition to mining and destroying the fields in Ukraine. It says “The negative consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and blocking the Ukraine ports are affecting the most vulnerable people in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.”


“We will hope that all the agreements be fulfilled from all sides and the mechanism will work effectively,” Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson to Vladimir Putin, told Russian Press.


Russia and Ukraine constitute about a third of global wheat exports, halted by Russia’s blockade, as global food prices soared. The grain transporting Razoni makes a first market stop at Lebanon, one of Ukraine’s primary sources of import, and currently experiencing food insecurity according to The World Bank in what it describes as a financial and economic crisis for the country. Ukraine hopes to reach maximum capacity in weeks as it mobilizes new vessels to transport more grains to other parts of the world where food scarcity rampages.


Almost 40 hours after its departure, the first bulk carrier anchored near the Bosphorus entrance from the Black Sea, awaiting official authorization, Reuters reports.

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Tags: #turkey #russia #ukraine #foodcrisis #razoni 3lebanon #JCC


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