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The first Ukrainian grain shipment since the invasion goes to Istanbul

#Ukrainian #grain #shipment #invasion #Istanbul

The first shipment of grain, due to leave Ukraine under a deal to ease Russia’s naval blockade, was expected in Istanbul “after midnight,” as Kyiv said on Tuesday it had begun mandatory evacuations from the war-torn Donetsk region.

The Sierra Leone-registered ship Razoni sailed Monday from the port of Odessa bound for Lebanon in a Turkey-UN-brokered deal it hopes will bring millions of tons of trapped Ukrainian products to world markets and a global food crisis will contain.

Turkish officials said it would arrive in Istanbul “after midnight”.

The ship had carefully slipped through a specially cleared corridor into the mine-infested waters of the Black Sea.

The Marine Traffic website showed the vessel – carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn – off the coast of Bulgaria at 0900 GMT.

It will be inspected at sea in the Bosphorus Estuary by a special coordination center involving representatives of Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN before being allowed to proceed.

The five-month suspension of supplies from Ukraine – one of the world’s largest grain exporters – has contributed to rising food prices and hit the world’s poorest countries particularly hard.

According to Kyiv, at least 16 more grain ships are waiting to depart, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned it was too early to celebrate.

“Let’s wait and see how the agreement works and whether security is really guaranteed,” Zelenskyj said in a video speech late Monday.

The landmark pact, signed in July, was the first significant deal between Ukraine and Russia since Moscow invaded its neighbor on February 24.

– Evacuations from Donetsk –

Nonetheless, Russia has continued to bombard cities and towns along Ukraine’s sprawling frontline.

Kyiv said it had begun mandatory evacuations from Donetsk’s eastern region, which is bearing the brunt of the Russian offensive, after Zelenskyy ordered the estimated 200,000 remaining residents to leave.

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

Officials have said they want to evacuate residents from the stricken region before the start of winter, as gas lines for heating have been cut.

In the south of the country, the head of Ukraine’s military administration, Kryviy Rig, said Russian shelling killed two civilians in a minibus trying to leave the Moscow-controlled Kherson region.

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

The mayor of the city of Mykolayiv, which is closest to where Ukrainian forces plan to launch a counteroffensive in Kherson, said Russian attacks damaged a student dormitory.

– More western weapons –

He said in a briefing that 403 people had been killed in his region since the invasion, but that a looming Ukrainian counter-offensive into the neighboring Kherson region “will result in a drop in shelling.”

Ukraine has been bolstered by further shipments of western weapons — particularly long-range artillery — as it appears to be launching a major push south to retake Kherson.

The United States announced a new $550 million tranche of arms for Ukraine’s armed forces, including ammunition for increasingly important rocket launchers and artillery pieces.

“Our artillerymen are ready to turn night into day to drive out the Russian invaders,” said Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.

On the diplomatic front, Washington, London and Paris used a review of a key United Nations nuclear treaty to censure Moscow for “irresponsible and dangerous” talks about a possible use of nuclear weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied the accusation, telling the Tenth Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference that there can be “no winners” in a nuclear war and it “should never be unleashed.”

Still, the Kremlin accused Britain, one of Kiev’s most vocal supporters, of deliberately worsening relations between Russia and the West.

It blacklisted 39 British citizens, including Labor Party leader Keir Starmer and former Prime Minister David Cameron, saying they “contribute to London’s hostile course aimed at the demonization of our country and its international isolation.” “.

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#Ukrainian #grain #shipment #invasion #Istanbul

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