First Ukrainian grain shipment since invasion reaches Turkey

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The first shipment of Ukrainian grain to leave Odessa since Russia’s invasion reached Turkey on Tuesday under a landmark deal to lift Moscow’s naval blockade in the Black Sea.

The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni arrived at the edge of the Bosphorus Strait shortly after Kyiv announced the start of mandatory evacuations from the war-scarred Donetsk region now bearing the brunt of Russia’s five-month assault.

The Razoni set sail under a deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations aimed at getting millions of tonnes of trapped produce to world markets and curbing a global food crisis.

The halt of deliveries from Ukraine — one of the world’s biggest grain exporters — has contributed to soaring food prices, hitting the world’s poorest nations especially hard.

But it also accuses Russia of stealing Ukrainian grain in territories seized by Kremlin forces and then shipping it to allied countries in Africa and the Middle East, such as Syria.

“Let’s wait and see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address late Monday. 

Yet Russia has continued to pound cities and towns across Ukraine’s sprawling front line.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said a train carrying “women, children, elderly people, many people with reduced mobility” arrived in the central city of Kropyvnytskyi on Tuesday morning.

Officials have said they want to get residents out of the battered region before the start of winter as gas pipes for heating have been severed.

Oleksander Vilkul said two other passengers were in serious condition in hospital with burns. 

– More Western arms –

Ukraine was bolstered by more supplies of Western arms — particularly long-range artillery — ahead of the push to retake Kherson.

“Our artillerymen are ready to turn night into day to expel the Russian invaders,” Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said.

Fighters from Azov were among 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered in May after weeks of fierce resistance at the Azovstal steel plant in devastated Mariupol. 

Its members were among 50 Ukrainian servicemen killed last week in an attack on a jail holding prisoners of war in Russian-occupied territory. 

Azov, in response to the Russian court ruling, called on the United States and other countries to recognise Russia as a “terrorist state”. 

Originally published as First Ukrainian grain shipment since invasion reaches Turkey


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