March 21, 2023

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First Ukraine grain shipment expected Sunday in Lebanon

First Ukraine grain shipment expected Sunday in Lebanon

The first shipment of Ukrainian grain since Russia’s invasion is expected to dock in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli on Sunday, state media and Ukraine’s embassy said.

The Sierra Leone-flagged vessel Razoni set sail from the Ukrainian port of Odessa last Monday carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn and stopped in Turkey the next day.

The delivery is the first under a UN-backed deal, brokered with the help of Turkey last month, which aims to ease a global food crisis.

The ship is scheduled to reach Tripoli on Sunday morning, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) said.

“Its arrival is expected at 10 am (0700 GMT) at the port of Tripoli,” a Ukraine embassy spokesperson told AFP.

Kyiv said another 16 ships loaded with grain are waiting to depart, three of which set off on Friday.

Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, has resumed the exports following the deal, which seeks to release millions of tonnes of trapped Ukrainian produce to world markets.

A similar agreement guarantees Russia can export produce and fertilisers despite Western sanctions.

The Razoni was cleared for passage through the Bosphorus Strait by a team that included Russian and Ukrainian inspectors on Wednesday.

The ship’s passage is being overseen by an international team that includes officials from Turkey, the United Nations and the two warring parties.

The blockage of deliveries from two of the world’s biggest grain exporters contributed to a spike in prices that has made food imports prohibitively expensive for some of the world’s poorest countries.

Turkey is hoping the agreement will build trust and pave the way for a ceasefire between Kyiv and Moscow.

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