More grain ships are leaving Ukraine under the food crisis assistance deal


Carry six more ships agricultural cargo stopped by the war in Ukraine received approval to leave the country’s Black Sea coast on Sunday as analysts warned that Russia would move troops and equipment towards southern port cities to repel a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Ukraine and Russia also accused each other of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

The loaded ships were ready for departure, according to the Joint Coordination Center, which oversees an international agreement aimed at shipping about 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine to feed millions of starving people in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Africa from Chornomorsk and Odessa released Asia.

Yurri Yalovchuk, a third-generation farmer, told CBS News that he had 1,000 tons from his barley crop that should have been shipped in the spring. It is no longer fit for human consumption and becomes chicken feed.

Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations last month signed the agreements to create an 111-nautical-mile maritime corridor that would allow cargo ships to safely navigate out of ports that the Russian military had blocked and through waters that mined by the Ukrainian military. Implementation of the agreement, which is valid for four months, has progressed slowly since the first ship embarked on August 1.

Russia-Ukraine War
The bulk carrier Glory sets sail from the port of Odessa, Ukraine on Sunday, August 7, 2022. According to Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry, the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel is carrying 66,000 tons of Ukrainian corn.

Nina Lyashonok / AP

Four of the freighters cleared to leave Ukraine on Sunday carried more than 219,000 tons of corn. The fifth transported more than 6,600 tons of sunflower oil and the sixth 11,000 tons of soybean, the Joint Coordination Center said.

Three other cargo ships that departed on Friday passed their inspections and were approved on Sunday to pass through Turkey’s Bosphorus Straits en route to their final destinations, the center said.

According to a Lebanese cabinet minister and the Ukrainian embassy, ​​the ship, which was the first to leave Ukraine last Monday under the grain export deal with much fanfare, had delayed its scheduled arrival in Lebanon on Sunday. The cause of the delay was not immediately clear.

Ukrainian officials were initially skeptical about a grain export deal, citing suspicion that Moscow would try to exploit shipping activity to ship bulk troops offshore or send long-range missiles out of the Black Sea, as it has done on numerous occasions during the war.

The agreements stipulate that ships will leave Ukraine under military escort and must undergo inspections to ensure they are only carrying grain, fertilizer or food and no other goods. Incoming cargo ships are screened to ensure they have no weapons on board.

In a weekend analysis, Britain’s MoD said the Russian invasion, which began on February 24, “is about to enter a new phase” in which fighting would shift to a roughly 350-kilometer front line stretching from near the city extends from Zaporizhia to Russian-occupied Cherson.

This area also includes the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which came under fire late on Saturday. Each side accused the other of the attack.

The operator of Ukraine’s Energoatom nuclear power plant said Russian shelling damaged three radiation monitors around the spent nuclear fuel storage facility and one worker was injured. Russian news agencies, citing the separatist-run management of the facility, said Ukrainian forces fired the shells.

Russian troops have occupied the power plant for months. According to Energoatom, Russian soldiers took shelter in bunkers before the attack on Saturday.

Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently warned that the way the facility is operated and the fighting around it pose serious health and environmental threats.

In the last four months of the war, Russia has focused on seizing the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have controlled some areas as self-proclaimed republics for eight years. Russian forces have been making incremental advances in the region while launching missile strikes to limit the movement of Ukrainian fighters elsewhere.

According to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think tank, “Russians continue to accumulate large amounts of military equipment” in a city across the Dnieper, across from Russian-held Kherson. Citing local Ukrainian officials, it said preparations appeared designed to defend logistical routes into the city and establish defensive positions on the left bank of the river.

Kherson came under Russian control early in the war, and Ukrainian officials have vowed to retake it. As it is only 227 kilometers from Odessa, home to Ukraine’s largest port, the escalating conflict there could have implications for the international grain deal.

Even closer to Odessa is the city of Mykolaiv, a shipbuilding center bombarded daily by Russian forces. Mykolaiv Region Governor Vitaliy Kim said an industrial plant on the outskirts of the region’s capital came under fire early Sunday.

Last day, five civilians were killed by Russian and separatist fire on towns in Donetsk region, the part of Donbass still under Ukrainian control, regional governor Serhiy Haidai reported.

He and Ukrainian government officials have repeatedly urged civilians to evacuate.


Andrew Wilks contributed reporting from Istanbul.

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