The first grain ship in Ukraine sails; Grain tycoon killed in Russian attack

  • The first Ukrainian grain ship bound for Lebanon
  • Turkey says more ships will follow
  • Russian missiles bombed the port of Mykolaiv
  • Ukrainian grain magnate Oleksiy Vadatorsky was murdered in Mykolaiv
  • Putin’s naval ambitions include the Black Sea and the Arctic

Kyiv (Reuters) – The first ship to sail from Ukraine with grain exports since the start of the Russian invasion will leave on Monday under a guaranteed safe passage agreement, the Turkish Defense Ministry said, adding that more will follow.

The ministry said that the Sierra Leone-flagged ship, the Razzoni, will depart from the port of Odessa, bound for Lebanon with its shipment of corn.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 caused a global food and energy crisis that shook the global economy. The United Nations has warned of a global hunger crisis with a “real danger” of multiple famines this year.

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Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global wheat exports. But Western sanctions on Russia and fighting along Ukraine’s eastern coast have prevented grain ships from safely leaving ports.

Razouni’s departure was made possible after Moscow, Kiev, Ankara and the United Nations signed a grain and fertilizer export agreement in July. The deal is intended to allow safe passage of grain shipments to and from Chornomorsk, Odessa and the port of Bivdnyi.

“It was agreed that the cargo ship flying the Sierra Leone flag and supported by corn will leave from the port of Odessa at 0830 am (0530 GMT) on August 1 for Lebanon,” the Turkish Defense Ministry said. in a note.

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It added that “the deployment of the other ships is planned within the scope of the corridor and method specified” as part of the July agreement.

Ukrainian officials said that 17 ships docked in Ukraine’s ports on the Black Sea, carrying nearly 600,000 tons of cargo. Among them, there were 16 Ukrainian grains with a total volume of about 580 thousand tons.

Russia has denied responsibility for the food crisis, blamed Western sanctions for slowing exports, and blamed Ukraine for mining its ports.

Port bombing

On Sunday, Russian missiles bombed the Ukrainian Black Sea port city of Mykolaiv as President Vladimir Putin signed a new naval doctrine that portrays the United States as Russia’s main rival and outlines naval ambitions in the Black Sea and the Arctic.

Putin did not mention the conflict in Ukraine during a speech on Navy Day but said the Navy would receive hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles in the coming months. Missiles can travel at nine times the speed of sound, outstripping air defenses. Read more

Naval Day celebrations in the port of Sevastopol were disrupted when five Russian Navy crew members were injured in an explosion after a suspected drone flew into the yard of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the governor of the coastal city of Crimea Mikhail Razvozaev told Russian media.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

More than a dozen rocket attacks on Sunday, possibly the most powerful on the city in five months of the war, hit homes and schools, killing two people and wounding three, Mayor of Mykolaiv Oleksandr Senkevich said. The missile strikes continued until Sunday evening.

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Vitaly Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv, said on Telegram that Ukrainian grain magnate Oleksiy Vadatorsky, founder and owner of the agricultural company Nipolon, and his wife were killed in their home.

Headquartered in Mykolaiv, a city of strategic importance located on the border of the predominantly Russian-occupied Kherson region, Nipolon specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, has its own fleet and shipyard.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Vadotorsky’s death “a great loss for the whole of Ukraine”.

Zelensky added that the businessman – one of Ukraine’s richest people with Forbes estimating his net worth in 2021 at $430 million – was building a modern grain market with a network of stations and elevators.

“It was these people, these companies, precisely in southern Ukraine, who ensured food security for the world,” Zelensky said in his nightly speech. “It has always been this way. And it will be so again.”

Zelensky said Ukraine could harvest only half the normal amount this year due to disruption to agriculture from Europe’s biggest conflict since World War Two. Farmers reported that they tried to harvest between the Russian bombing of their fields.

Eastern danger

After failing to quickly capture the capital, Kyiv, early in the war, Russia turned its focus toward eastern and southern Ukraine.

Zelensky said Russia has moved some troops from the eastern Donbass region to the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions.

“As the Ukrainian authorities briefed last week, Russia is likely to redeploy a significant number of its forces from the northern Donbass sector to southern Ukraine,” Britain’s MoD said in an intelligence update.

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She said Russia might adjust the operational design of its offensive in the Donbass and likely identified the Zaporizhia front as weak and in need of reinforcement.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and Ukraine says Russia is seeking to do the same with the Donbas region and link it to Crimea. Russian-backed separatists controlled parts of the region before the invasion.

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Reporting by Reuters offices. writing by Michael Berry; Editing by Robert Persell

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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