The first ship carrying Ukrainian grain left Odesa on Monday as a result of the deal meant to facilitate exports signed between Kyiv and Moscow that was brokered by Turkey and the UN.
Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni left Ukraine carrying 26,000 tons of corn and is due to anchor off Istanbul on Tuesday for an inspection that will be overseen by a coordination center in the Turkish city that includes personnel from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN.
After the inspection, the Razoni will leave the Black Sea through the Bosphorous Strait and will deliver its shipment to Tripoli, Lebanon. Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said 16 more ships are waiting to leave Odesa.
News of the first grain shipment was received positively from the warring sides. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the ship’s departure was “very positive” and that it was “a good opportunity to test the effectiveness of the mechanisms that were agreed during talks in Istanbul.” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba hailed the shipment as a “relief for the world.”
The grain deal was signed with the hope of unlocking an estimated 22 million tons of grain that has been stuck in Ukrainian ports. Under the agreement, Ukraine agreed to create a safe corridor through its heavy mined ports and escort ships while Russia agreed not to attack the area.