First Grain Shipment Leaves Odesa on Monday Since Russian Invasion Began

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The first ship of grain sailed from Odesa’s port in Ukraine on Monday. It’s the first shipment since the Russian invasion began and is part of a deal forged by the United Nations and Turkey between Ukraine and Russia.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Razoni left the port carrying 26,000 metric tons of corn headed for Tripoli, Lebanon, according to Ukrainian officials and the Turkish government. It is expected to arrive in Istanbul on Tuesday, then continue to its destination after inspections.

Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters. After the invasion began, 18 million metric tons of grain remained trapped in Ukraine. This shipment is promising for Ukrainian farmers and world buyers; the flow of corn, wheat, barley, and other grain sources is lower than pre-war totals. According to the Wall Street Journal, it will take months to clear the backlog of grain. The war will likely destroy the current season’s harvest.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts Ukraine will export 30 million metric tons of grain during the 2022-23 season, which is almost half the amount of last season.

Monday’s shipment is a test of the deal signed last month to ease the global food crisis. It shows the plan can work and that Ukraine, Turkey and the U.N. are determined to carry through on the deal while they hold their breath that Russia will keep its part of the bargain.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter that the resumption was a “day of relief.”