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First ship carrying grain leaves Odessa in deal to help ease global food crisis

ODESSA, Ukraine The initial ship carrying grain departed a Ukrainian port early Monday under a United Nations-brokered deal to help ease a worldwide food crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The departure of the cargo vessel packed with corn from Odessa came despite fears that the offer, signed in Istanbul in late July, would break apart following a recent Russian attack on the port.

The wail of a Ukrainian tug boats horn marked the departure of the Razoni, a Sierra Leonian-flagged bulk carrier that began the journey at 9: 30 a.m. local time. The ship was destined for Lebanon, in accordance with Turkeys Defense Ministry.

Ukraines minister of infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov, said in a message on Twitter that the vessel was the first ever to depart the port of Odessa since Russias invasion of Ukraine in late February. A Russian naval blockade of Ukraines Black Sea ports has halted grain exports, adding to global food shortages.

Because of the support of most our partner countries & @UN we could actually full implement the Agreement signed in Istanbul, Kubrakov tweeted Monday morning.

Russia and Ukraine were on the list of worlds top producers and exporters of grain, cooking oil and fertilizers before Moscows invasion. This past year, Ukraine accounted for 10 percent of global wheat exports, based on the US.

With an increase of than 20 million a great deal of grain from last years harvest stuck in storage, the resumption of shipments by sea is a priority for the Ukrainian government. But Russias blockade has forced grain sellers to utilize alternatives, including river ports or costly overland routes, which have delayed deliveries.

The July 22 agreement signed in Turkey guarantees the safe passing of commercial ships from Odessa and two other Ukrainian ports. Set to stay in effect for 120 days, it depends on tabs on designated maritime corridors by delegations from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the US in Istanbul.

The signing of the agreement came after months of negotiations brokered by Turkey and the U.N. and disputes over its terms, including security guarantees insisted upon by Ukraine. A Russian missile strike on Odessas port significantly less than 24 hours following the deal was concluded threatened to scuttle the initiative.

Making certain existing grain and foodstuffs can proceed to global markets is really a humanitarian imperative, U.N. Secretary General Antnio Guterres said in a statement welcoming the Razonis departure.

The Istanbul coordination center said in a statement that it had decided to specific coordinates and restrictions across the maritime corridor, and requested all its participants to see their respective military along with other authorities to guarantee the Razonis safe passage.

The ship, it added, was carrying a lot more than 26,000 metric tonnes of corn and was likely to get to Turkish territorial waters on Tuesday. Following inspection in Turkey, it could keep on to Lebanon, the statement said.

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