Ukraine is ready to carry out the first grain export since Russia’s February 24 invasion. This round of grain exportation from Ukraine is under the UN-brokered deal signed in Istanbul a week ago to ease global food shortages after a blockade that led to a surge in food prices.
“We are ready to export Ukrainian grain. We are waiting for signals from our partners about the start of transportation,” Zelenskyy said visiting the port of Chornomorsk near the southern city of Odesa.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the port of Chornomorsk to show that his country is ready to export millions of tons of grains to the world after last week’s breakthrough agreement, stating that it is important that Ukraine remains the guarantor of global food security.
Zelensky also said “while someone blocking the Black Sea takes the lives of other states, we allow them to survive,” according to Reuters.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a severe disruption to supply chains as both countries are major global wheat suppliers, accounting for a third of the world’s exports of wheat and barley. The agreement aims to allow safe passage for grain shipments in and out of Chornomorsk, Odesa, and the port of Pivdennyi. There is optimism that the deal, set for an initial 120 days, may work. Russia is also keen to resume its exports of grain and fertilizer.
The shipment of the grains from Ukraine is seen as key to easing the global food crises, however, the first departure from Ukraine’s shores will be more of a testing of the waters than an unblocking of a major supply route.
According to Reuters, Presidential officials said “there were 17 ships docked in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports with almost 600,000 tonnes of cargo. Of them, 16 vessels held Ukrainian grain with a total tonnage of about 580,000 tonnes.”
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 finalize the exact coordinates of the safest routes, saying this must be “absolutely nailed down.”
Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov said if the initiative works as expected, and if the partners in the deal (Turkey and the UN) can ensure its execution, grain prices will drop, globally” according to Reuters.
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