All three Black Sea ports in and around Odesa have resumed receiving cargo vessels for grain export despite the Russian-imposed blockade, Bloomberg reported.
In the past few weeks, 10 ships have used the temporary corridor set up by Ukraine's Navy following Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the media outlet wrote, citing unnamed individuals familiar with the matter and ship-tracking data.
On Oct. 1, two cargo vessels reportedly arrived at the port of Odesa, two more reached the Chornomorsk port, and the New Legacy ship arrived at Pivdenny. Earlier, five further vessels passed through the corridor, loaded cargo, and departed.
Five ships that had been stuck in Ukraine's ports since the start of Russia's full-scale war used the same route to leave before the arrival of any incoming ships.
After Russia unilaterally backed out of the grain deal in mid-July, the shipment of grain through the Black Sea effectively stopped until Ukraine announced the opening of the temporary corridor.
In September, Ukraine managed to export 50 tons of its products through the temporary Black Sea corridor, First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotskyi said on national television, adding that the route is used not only for agricultural goods but other exports as well.
In a comment for Reuters, the top United Nations trade chief called the corridor a move in the right direction but said it should not replace a larger deal to resume shipping through the Black Sea.
Kyiv has also said that the new route is explicitly a temporary measure and one that "is purely a humanitarian mission."
The route, which sticks close to the Bulgarian and Romanian coast, is not without risk to those who use it. The Russian Defense Ministry has said that all vessels sailing to Ukrainian ports would be considered "potential carriers of military cargo" and, therefore, legitimate targets.
On Aug. 13, Moscow claimed its forces fired warning shots at a ship in the Black Sea after its captain failed to respond to a request to inspect the vessel. However, InformNapalm, a Ukrainian open-source intelligence outfit, refuted this claim, saying the ship "did not comply with the demand to stop, but temporarily changed its course in the direction of Turkish territorial waters."
The original grain deal, brokered by Turkey and the UN in July 2022, had been essential in mitigating a global surge in food prices partially caused by Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine by allowing Ukraine to export its agricultural products via the Black Sea despite the ongoing invasion.