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International Maritime Organization to send mission to Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 8, 2023 7:32 PM 2 min read
The headquarters of the International Maritime Organization in London, the U.K. (International Maritime Organization/X)
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The International Maritime Organization (IMO), along with support from other UN authorities, will send a mission to Ukraine to help "identify Ukraine's needs in implementing the right to free navigation," Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Dec. 8.

"This decision, as well as the non-election of Russia to the IMO Council for 2023-2024, shows the protection of the international maritime community's right to free navigation of every country," Kubrakov said. He added that the findings of the mission will be incorporated into "a long-term project of technical assistance to Ukraine."

The IMO's Assembly voted on Dec. 1 to elect 40 new council members for 2024-2025. Russia was not re-elected, which President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed.

"In the last decade, no country has done more to undermine freedom of navigation than Russia," Zelensky said.

Immediately after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, it blocked the movement of humanitarian cargo in and out of Ukraine's Black Sea ports.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, first brokered by Turkey and the UN in July 2022, allowed Ukraine to export its grain even amid the ongoing war.

Moscow unilaterally terminated the deal in July 2023 and subsequently intensified its attacks against Ukraine's ports and agriculture infrastructure.

Since the Black Sea humanitarian corridor opened in August, 200 ships have passed through it, carrying 7 million metric tons of cargo from Ukrainian ports, including almost 5 million tons of Ukrainian agricultural products, Kubrakov said on Dec. 4.

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