First grain shipment leaves Ukraine after months of Russian blockade amid food crisis

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The first ship carrying Ukrainian grain left the port of Odessa Monday morning under an internationally brokered deal that is expected to release large stocks of Ukrainian crops to foreign markets amid the global food crisis.

The Turkish Defense Ministry said that the Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razzoni had left Odessa for Lebanon. A statement issued by the United Nations said that the Razouni ship was carrying more than 26,000 tons of corn.

Razzoni is expected to arrive in Istanbul on Tuesday. It will then be searched before it is allowed to continue its journey.

Lebanon is currently in a financial crisis. An explosion in 2020 at its main port in Beirut devastated its capital and destroyed granaries there, part of which collapsed after a fire that lasted for weeks on Sunday.

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In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, a Turkish cargo ship Polarent loads Ukrainian grain at a port in the Odessa region, Ukraine, Friday, July 29, 2022.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

“Today, Ukraine, together with its partners, is taking another step towards preventing world hunger,” said Alexander Kobrakov, Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine.

He said he would also help Ukraine.

“The opening of the ports will provide at least $1 billion in foreign exchange earnings for the economy and an opportunity for the agricultural sector to plan for the next year,” Kubrakov said.

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Security personnel stand in front of a grain storage terminal at the Odessa sea port, in Odessa, Ukraine, Friday, July 29, 2022.

Security personnel stand in front of a grain storage terminal at the Odessa sea port, in Odessa, Ukraine, Friday, July 29, 2022.
(Associated Press/David Goldman)

Russia and Ukraine have signed separate agreements with Turkey and the United Nations

Under the agreements, Russia agreed not to attack Ukrainian naval ships or port infrastructure as Ukraine attempts to offload 22 million tons of grain to the weak and developing nations of Odessa, Chornomoresk and Yuzhny.

A security officer stands next to the Navy Star ship laden with grain since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine five months ago as it waits to set sail from the Odessa seaport, in Odessa, Ukraine, Friday, July 29, 2022.

A security officer stands next to the Navy Star ship laden with grain since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine five months ago as it waits to set sail from the Odessa seaport, in Odessa, Ukraine, Friday, July 29, 2022.
(Associated Press/David Goldman)

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The deals also allow Russia to export grain and fertilizer.

But Russia bombed Odessa with a missile strike on Saturday, followed by several attacks just days later in the coastal Odessa towns of Yuzhny and Zatoka.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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