The first ship carrying Ukrainian grain left the port of Odesa Monday morning under an internationally brokered deal that is expected to release large stores of Ukrainian crops to foreign markets amid a global food crisis.
The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni left Odesa for Lebanon, Turkey’s defense ministry said. A statement from the United Nations said the Razoni was carrying over 26,000 tons of corn.
Razoni is expected to reach Istanbul on Tuesday. It will then be inspected before being allowed to continue its journey.
Lebanon is currently in a financial crisis. A 2020 explosion at its main port in Beirut shattered its capital city and destroyed grain silos there, a part of which collapsed following a weekslong fire just Sunday.
“Today Ukraine, together with partners, is taking another step towards preventing world hunger,” said Alexander Kubrakov, the Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure.
He said it would also help Ukraine.
“Unlocking ports will provide at least $1 billion in foreign exchange revenue to the economy and an opportunity for the agricultural sector to plan for next year,” Kubrakov said.
Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements with Turkey and the U.N.
Under the agreements, Russia agreed not to attack Ukrainian naval vessels or port infrastructure as Ukraine attempts to offload 22 million tons of grain to vulnerable and developing nations from Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Yuzhne.
The deals also allow Russia to exports grain and fertilizers.
However, Russia hit Odesa in a missile strike Saturday, followed by several attacks just days later in the Odesa-coastal towns of Yuzhne and Zatoka.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.