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Inspectors have OKed the first Ukrainian grain ship since the war with Russia began. But no further signs yet. – Chicago Tribune

ISTANBUL — The first grain ship to leave Ukraine and cross the Black Sea under a wartime agreement passed inspections in Istanbul on Wednesday before heading to Lebanon. Ukraine said 17 of her other ships were “loaded and awaiting clearance to depart”, but had not yet announced when they could depart.

A joint civilian inspection team spent three hours inspecting the cargo and crew of the Sierra Leone-flagged Lazoni, which left Odessa carrying Ukrainian corn on Monday, according to a United Nations statement.

The Joint Coordination Center’s team includes officials from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, who last month sought to export agricultural products desperately needed by Ukraine as Russia’s war against its neighbor escalates. has signed a contract to create a safe Black Sea shipping route for

Ukraine is a major global grain supplier, but the war has hampered most exports, so the July 22 agreement was meant to ease global food security. Global food prices are skyrocketing amid crises attributed to war, supply chain problems and COVID-19. Distrust between Kyiv and Moscow casts a shadow over a renewable agreement that will last for 120 days.

US Secretary of State Antony Brinken called Lazoni’s trip an “important step”, but no other ships had departed Ukraine in the past 48 hours and officials on all sides offered no explanation for the delay. do not have.

Three Ukrainian ports will resume exports of millions of tons of wheat, maize and other crops, according to a UN statement. Inspectors said they had “gained valuable information” from Lazoni’s crew about its voyage through the Black Sea maritime humanitarian corridor.

The Joint Coordination Center said it was a “fine-tuning procedure.”

A photo tweeted by the Turkish Ministry of Defense shows an inspector reaching into the Lazoni’s hold and touching some of its cargo. As the inspector left the ship, Lasoni’s horn rang and the ship headed for Lebanon.

This check is intended to ensure that outgoing cargo vessels are carrying only grain, fertilizer, or related foodstuffs and no other commodities, and that incoming vessels are not carrying arms. increase.

About 20 million tons of grain, most of which is said to be for livestock, has been stranded in Ukraine since the start of the war six months ago. The UN-brokered agreement provided for the establishment of safe corridors through mine-passing waters outside Ukrainian ports.

Black Sea voyages carry significant risks due to war. According to Brigitte Diakun, data reporter for Lloyd’s List, a global maritime news publication, two civilian ships struck an explosive device near the mouth of the Danube River’s Bistre estuary last week.

Analysts say the top priority for the authorities appears to be to remove the vessels that have been stuck in the three Ukrainian ports covered by the contract for months. Since the invasion, 16 grain-laden ships have been stranded in the ports of Odessa and Chernomorsk.

Even slower than that is the effort to bring ships into Ukrainian ports to extract millions of tons of grain.

Lloyd’s List insurance editor David Osler says insurance brokers have been “cautious and slow” so far. “At this stage, everyone is hesitant.”

Meanwhile, Russian forces continued to shell the city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, firing twice in the past 24 hours, at around 9 p.m. Tuesday and around 5 a.m. Wednesday, Mykolaiv regional governor Vitaly Kim said. reported.

The shelling has damaged piers, industrial enterprises, houses, garage cooperatives, supermarkets and pharmacies, Kim said.

Mykolaiv is a southern port city on the Black Sea. Russia said in April that it wanted to control not only eastern Ukraine but also southern part, cutting off Ukraine from the Black Sea coast and creating a land route to the segregated region of Moldova in Transnistria.

Mykolaiv mayor Oleksandr Sienkevich told the Associated Press that Russian rockets and artillery fire have so far killed 131 civilians, including children, and seriously injured 590 people, including seven children, in the city. said.

Russian shelling in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region has killed at least four civilians in 24 hours, the Ukrainian president’s office said Wednesday. Amid a constant onslaught by Moscow forces, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has issued orders to all those remaining in the combat zone to evacuate as soon as possible. People in areas still in control said they would likely not have access to heating, electricity or running water this winter.

Russia’s war on Ukraine has also disrupted Western Europe’s energy supply, with Moscow slashing it amid fears of shutting it down altogether. Across Europe, countries are scrambling to cut energy use this summer. That way, you can fill up your gas storage tanks for the cold winter ahead.

Robert Badendieck and Mehmet Guzel of Istanbul and Aya Batrawy of Dubai contributed to this report.

Inspectors have OKed the first Ukrainian grain ship since the war with Russia began. But no further signs yet. – Chicago Tribune

Source link Inspectors have OKed the first Ukrainian grain ship since the war with Russia began. But no further signs yet. – Chicago Tribune

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