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Ukraine says 25th grain ship leaves under deal with Russia

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Kyiv said Thursday that a 25th cargo ship carrying grain had departed Ukraine under a deal with Russia brokered by Turkey and the UN to unblock the country’s blockaded ports.

The departure comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN chief Antonio Guterres, who key to the reaching of the accord, were convening in the western Ukraine city of Lviv to meet with Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

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“The cargo ship I Maria departed from the port of Chornomorsk. It is loaded with 33,000 tonnes of corn,” Ukraine’s ports authority said in a statement on social media, adding the ship was expected to arrive in Egypt in a few days.

It said that 600,000 tonnes of Ukrainian agricultural products had been shipped through a corridor agreed by Moscow and Kyiv in Istanbul last month.

The grain agreement lifted a Russian blockade of Ukraine’s ports and established safe corridors through the naval mines laid by Kyiv.

“So far, 25 ships with Ukrainian products left the ports of Odesa, Pivdennyi and Chornomorsk for the Bosphorus strait,” the ports authority added.

Earlier this week, a first UN-chartered vessel laden with grain set off from Ukraine for Africa under the deal, the ministry in charge of shipments said.

Ukraine and Russia are two of the world’s biggest grain exporters. The halt in exports saw grain prices soar and fears rise of global food shortages, particularly in poor countries already experiencing shortfalls.

The first commercial ship carrying grain left on August 1.

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