First ship carrying Ukrainian grain leaves port of Odesa

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The Sierra Leone-flagged carrying more than 26,000 tonnes of corn destined for Lebanon was the first grain ship on Monday since Russian aggression has left port,” Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov, said on Twitter.Lebanon is a nation in the grip of what the World Bank has described as one of the world’s worst financial crises in more than 150 years. Russia has been blockading Ukraine’s ports since the start of the war. Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements, with Turkey and the UN clearing the way for Ukraine to export 22 million tonnes of grain and other agricultural goods that have been stuck in Black Sea ports. The deal aims to allow safe passage for grain shipments in and out of Chornomorsk, Odesa and the port of Pivdennyi. Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said 16 more ships, all blocked since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, were waiting their turn in the ports of Odesa.

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The United Nations welcomed the development. The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has led to a worldwide food and energy crisis. Moscow has denied responsibility for the food crisis, blaming Western sanctions for slowing exports. Ukrainian grain tycoon Oleksiy Vadatursky, founder and owner of agriculture company Nibulon, and his wife were killed in their home when Russian missiles on Sunday pounded Mykolaiv. Zelenskiy said Ukraine may harvest only half its usual amount this year due to disruption to farming from the war. Russia says attacks on Ukraine will continue.