First Container Ship Departs Ukraine Port Since Breakdown Of Grain Deal

The first container ship using a temporary Black Sea shipping corridor opened since Russia pulled out of a UN-brokered grain exports deal last month, has left Ukraine’s southern port of Odesa on Wednesday.

Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a Faecbook post that Hong Kong-flagged ship Joseph Schulte, with more than 30,000 metric tons of cargo on board, was bound for Bosporus Strait, an internationally significant waterway located in Istanbul in northwestern Turkey that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.

The container ship had been docked in Odesa since 2022 February, when Russia attacked Ukraine.

Shipping of grain and other agricultural products from Odesa, which had been halted since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, had resumed under a landmark deal signed by Ukraine, Russia and Turkey in July last year.

But on July 17, Russia declared that it is pulling out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed for significant volumes of exports from three Black Sea ports.

One year into the agreement, more than 32 million tons of food commodities have been exported from Odesa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny to 45 countries across three continents.

The Initiative helped unblock vital food commodities shortage and reverse spiking global food prices.

Russia had warned that it will target Ukraine-bound vessels considering them as potentially carrying weapons.

On Sunday, a Russian warship reportedly attacked a Turkish-owned cargo ship. This was followed by Russian drone attack against port infrastructure on the Danube River in Odesa, damaging granaries and warehouses.

Meanwhile, Ukraine claimed that its forces have liberated the eastern Donetsk village of Urozhaine after days of intense fighting.

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