Three grain ships left Ukrainian ports on Friday while the first inbound cargo vessel since Russia’s invasion was due in Ukraine to load, as Kyiv called for the safe passage deal to be extended to other cargoes such as metals.
The July 22 deal marked a rare diplomatic breakthrough as war rages in eastern Ukraine, with Kyiv trying to rebuild its shattered economy after more than five months of conflict.
“We expect that the security guarantees of our partners from the United Nations (UN) and Turkey will continue to work, and food exports from our ports will become stable and predictable for all market participants,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Facebook after the ships set off.
The first grain ship left Odesa on Monday.
“This agreement is about logistics, about the movement of vessels through the Black Sea,” Ukrainian Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kachka told Financial Times. “What’s the difference between grain and iron ore?”
The UN and Turkey brokered the safe passage deal between Moscow and Kyiv after UN warnings of possible outbreaks of famine due to a halt in grain shipments from Ukraine.
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