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Minister: First ships agree to enter Ukrainian ports after grain deal disruption

by The Kyiv Independent news desk September 16, 2023 7:34 PM 1 min read
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Two bulk carrier civilian ships have agreed to enter the port of Chornomorsk on the Black Sea and load up nearly 20,000 tons of grain for African and Asian countries, Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov reported on his Facebook page on Sept. 16.

According to Kubrakov, the Resilient Africa and the Aroyat are flying under the flag of the island nation of Palau and their crews consist of Turkish, Azerbaijani, Egyptian, and Ukrainian citizens. They are the first civilian ships that agreed to enter Ukrainian ports after Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July.

Another five ships have been evacuated from Ukrainian ports through the temporary corridor since it was established in mid-August, Kubrakov added.

Ukraine's Naval Forces announced the new corridor on Aug. 10. The route was primarily meant to allow passage for ships that have been docked in the Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Pivdennyi since the start of the full-scale invasion.

Kubrakov reported on Aug. 16 that the first ship had successfully sailed from Odesa through the temporary Black Sea corridor.

The navy warned that the military threat from Russia and mine risks remain along all the routes, adding that only vessels whose owners or captains officially confirm their readiness to sail under such conditions will be allowed to pass through.

The temporary corridor was established after Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in mid-July.

Brokered by Turkey and the U.N. in July 2022, the grain deal was originally meant to guarantee the safe passage of ships transporting Ukraine's agricultural exports from the Black Sea during the invasion.

Russia withdrew from the grain deal in mid-July after repeated threats to do so and has since been targeting Ukraine's agricultural infrastructure, ports, and grain stockpiles.

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