The first ship to carry Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea since Russia invaded Ukraine five months ago; left the port of Odesa for Lebanon under a safe passage deal described as a glimmer of hope in a worsening global food crisis.
The sailing was possible after Turkey and the United Nations broker a grain and fertiliser export agreement; between Russia and Ukraine last month – a rare diplomatic breakthrough in a conflict that has become a drawn-out war of attrition.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 has disrupted global food and energy supplies and the United Nations has warned of the risk of multiple famines this year.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in an evening video address, described the shipment as “the first positive signal that there is a chance to stop the development of a world food crisis.”
Ukraine, known as Europe’s breadbasket, hopes to export 20 million tonnes of grain in silos and 40 million tonnes from the harvest now under way, initially from Odesa and nearby Pivdennyi and Chornomorsk, to help clear the silos for the new crop.