Zelensky observes loading of grain as exports resume from Ukrainian ports

29 July 2022, 12:34

Russia Ukraine War
Russia Ukraine War. Picture: PA

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited a Turkish ship loaded with grain.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has visited the Odesa region to see the loading of grain as exports resume for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion.

Mr Zelensky observed a Turkish ship loaded with grain.

“The first vessel, the first ship is being loaded since the beginning of the war,” Mr Zelensky said.

He said the export of grain will begin with the departure of several ships that were already loaded but could not depart from Ukrainian ports.

“Our side is fully prepared. We sent all the signals to our partners — the UN and Turkey, and our military guarantees the security situation,” he said, adding “it is important for us that Ukraine remains the guarantor of global food security”.

Russia Ukraine War
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited a port in Chornomork (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

The visits to the ports are part of a broader push by Ukraine to show the world they are nearly ready to export millions of tons of grains to the world after last week’s breakthrough agreement.

The complexities of the agreement and concerns about the safety of shipping crews has set the deal off to a slow, cautious start.

It has been a week since it was signed and no grain has yet left ports but the sides are facing a ticking clock — the deal is only set for 120 days.

It comes a week after Russian missiles struck Odesa, throwing into question Moscow’s commitment to the deal signed only hours earlier.

The sides agreed to facilitate the shipment of Ukrainian wheat and other grain from Black Sea routes blocked by five months of war, as well as fertiliser and food from Russia.

The goal over the next four months is to get some 20 million tons of grain out of three Ukrainian sea ports blocked since the February 24 invasion.

Russia Ukraine War
The ship Navi-Star has been loaded with grain (David Goldman/AP)

That provides time for about four to five large bulk carriers per day to transport grain from the ports to millions of impoverished people worldwide facing hunger.

“We are ready,” Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov told reporters at the port of Odesa on Friday.

But he said Ukraine is waiting on the UN to confirm the safe corridors that will be used by ships navigating the waters, which have been mined with explosives.

In the meantime, a ship at the port of Chernomorsk was being loaded with grain, he said.

Martin Griffiths, the UN official who mediated the deal, said the first shipment of grain could depart Ukrainian ports as early as Friday but cautioned that work is still being done to finalise the exact coordinates of the safest routes, saying this must be “absolutely nailed down”.

Russia Ukraine War
A grain storage terminal has been filled at the Odesa Sea Port (David Goldman/AP)

Lloyd’s List, a global publisher of shipping news, noted that while UN officials are pushing for the initial voyage this week to show progress in the deal, continued uncertainty on key details will likely prevent an immediate ramping up of shipments.

“Until those logistical issues and detailed outlines of safeguarding procedures are disseminated, charters will not be agreed and insurers will not be underwriting shipments,” wrote Bridget Diakun and Richard Meade of Lloyd’s List.

They note, however, that UN agencies, such as the World Food Programme, have already arranged to charter much of the grain for urgent humanitarian needs.

Getting wheat and other food out is critical to farmers in Ukraine, who are running out of storage capacity amid a new harvest. Those grains are vital to millions of people in Africa, parts of the Middle East and South Asia, who are already facing food shortages and, in some cases, famine.

Since the deal was signed a week ago, shipping companies have not rushed in because explosive mines are drifting in the waters, ship owners are assessing the risks and many still have questions over how the agreement will unfold.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

A military fighter jet flies above the Taiwan Strait

Taiwan warns China drills show ambitions beyond island

A Ukrainian serviceman walks on a street at the frontline in Mykolaiv region, Ukraine

Ukraine: Shelling hits town near Russian-held nuclear plant

South Korea Weather

Nine dead in Seoul after torrential rain turns streets into rivers

The Beluga whale in the Seine river (Sea Shepherd via AP)

Rescuers to move whale stranded in French river to saltwater

Election 2022 Wisconsin Governor

Trump’s home in Florida searched by FBI ‘in White House records probe’

Israel Palestinians

Three dead and dozens injured after arrest operation by Israeli troops

Issey Miyake

Famed Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake dies aged 84

Kenya Election

Voting under way in Kenya’s presidential election

Japan Nagasaki Anniversary

Nagasaki mayor warns of ‘present nuclear crisis’ on anniversary of US bombing

Former President Donald Trump delivers the final remarks during Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, on Saturday, August 6, 2022

Former president Donald Trump says FBI conducting search of Mar-a-Lago estate

Film-Lars von Trier-Parkinson’s

Dancer in the Dark director Lars von Trier diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

Trident test

Russia halts US inspections of its nuclear arsenals

Ahmaud Arbery Hate Crimes

Father and son get life sentences for hate crime over black jogger’s murder

Russia Ukraine War

Russia and Ukraine trade claims over shelling of nuclear power station again

France Heat

France faces worst drought on record as fourth heatwave of the year spreads

Palestinians Israel

Gaza power plant restarts as Israel-Palestinian truce holds