Ukraine has announced that a second caravan of ships carrying grain has left the country’s ports as part of a deal with Russia to unblock Ukrainian sea exports.
The four ships that departed on August 7 were loaded with nearly 170,000 tons of grain, according to Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.
Three ships laden with up to 80,000 tons of corn set sail from Ukraine on August 5. The first ship to leave Ukraine under the deal brokered last month by Turkey and the United Nations departed on August 1.
That ship, the Razoni, was expected to reach Lebanon on the evening of August 7, but is reportedly delayed and is currently located off the Turkish coast.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Lebanon informed Western media outlets that the Razoni, which is carrying more than 26,000 tons of corn, would not be arriving in Tripoli as scheduled. The source gave no details as to when the ship will arrive, or why it was delayed.
Nine ships are still awaiting to leave Ukraine from the three ports agreed upon under the deal, which cleared the way for Ukraine to resume grain exports by sea for the first time since Russia invaded the country in February.
In Rome, Pope Francis welcomed the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine as “a sign of hope” that showed dialogue was possible to end the war.
“I sincerely hope that, following this path, we can put an end to the fighting and arrive at a just and lasting peace,” the pontiff said on August 7.
The halt of grain shipments from Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest grain exporters, contributed to a spike in global food prices and caused concern about countries in the Middle East and Africa receiving enough grain and other commodities to feed their populations.
Ukraine blamed a Russian blockade of its ports for the halt in grain shipments, while Russia claimed that mines placed in the water by Ukraine were to blame.
On August 6, the first foreign-flagged ship arrived in Chornomorsk, a Ukrainian port on the northwestern coast of the Black Sea.
The arrival of the Fulmar S was described by Kubrakov as “an important signal to the market that the grain corridor is a safe and, most importantly, profitable business opportunity for ship owners to return to Ukrainian ports.”
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