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First shipment of Ukrainian grain leaves Odesa port, bound for Lebanon

A grain terminal is seen after a Russian missile strike in a sea port of Odesa

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said that first grain ship has left the port of Odesa since Russia invaded Ukraine. Ealier, the Turkish defense ministry had said the first shipment will leave Odesa at 0530 GMT on Monday.

“The first grain ship since #RussianAggression has left port. Thanks to the support of all our partner countries & @UN we were able to fully implement the agreement signed in Istanbul,” he wrote on Twitter.

“The departure of the cargo ship Razoni flying the flag of Sierra Leone and loaded with maize will leave the port of Odesa bound for Lebanon at 08:30 (0530 GMT),” the Turkish defense ministry said in a statement.

Other convoys would follow, respecting the maritime corridor and the agreed formalities in line with the agreement reached with Russia on July 22, the ministry said.

Built in 1996 and measuring 186 meters (610 feet) in length and 25 meters in width, the vessel has capacity of 30,000 tons.

On July 22, Ukraine and Russia signed a landmark deal with Turkey and the United Nations aimed at relieving a global food crisis caused by blocked Black Sea grain deliveries.

Turkey formally opened a special joint coordination center to oversee the exports in Istanbul last Wednesday, which is being staffed by civilian and military officials from the two warring parties and delegates from Turkey and the UN.

Their primary assignment involves monitoring the safe passage of Ukrainian grain ships along established routes and overseeing their inspection for banned weapons on the way into and out of the Black Sea.

The blockage of deliveries from two of the world’s biggest grain exporters has contributed to a spike in prices that has made food imports prohibitively expensive for some of the world’s poorest countries.

UN estimates say nearly 50 million people began to face “acute hunger” around the world as a direct consequence of the war.

Wheat prices fell sharply hours after the grain deal was signed.

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