First grain shipment since Russian invasion leaves Ukraine port
KYIV, (Ukraine): The first shipment of Ukrainian grain since the Russian invasion in February left the port of Odessa on Monday under a landmark deal to lift Moscow’s naval blockade in the Black Sea.
The five-month halt of deliveries from Ukraine — one of the world’s biggest grain exporters — has contributed to soaring food prices, hitting the world’s poorest nations especially hard.
Kyiv said the departure of the Razoni cargo ship would bring “relief for the world” — if Moscow respected its side of the accord — but President Volodymyr Zelensky cautioned it was too soon to celebrate.
“At this time, it is too early to draw any conclusions and make any forecasts,” Zelensky said in his daily video address.
“Let’s wait and see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed.”
Zelenskiy says Ukraine ready to ship grain, awaits signal to start
The breakthrough pact signed in July was the first significant accord involving Ukraine and Russia since Moscow invaded its neighbour on February 24.
Russian missiles struck Odessa the day after the deal was inked.
Officials said the Razoni, registered in Sierra Leone, was making its way through a specially cleared corridor in the mine-infested waters of the Black Sea with 26,000 tonnes of maize on board.
Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials said more shipments should follow.
Despite progress on grain exports, Russian shells hit cities in the south and east, and western nations sent a new tranche of high-precision weapons to the Ukrainians.
Diplomatic tensions ratcheted up, with the United States, Britain and France rebuking Moscow for hinting it could use nuclear weapons and the Kremlin blacklisting 39 more high-profile British citizens.
Kyiv said it had received more precision rocket systems from the United States and Germany, adding to a growing arsenal of Western long-range artillery Kyiv says is changing dynamics on the battlefield.
Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov tweeted that four more high-mobility advanced rocket launchers (HIMARS) from Washington and the first in a batch of German MARS-II systems had arrived in Ukraine.
The new $550-million package of US military aid brings to more than $8.0 billion the total committed to Ukraine since President Joe Biden took office, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.