Grain ship leaves port of Odesa, says Ukrainian minister

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KYIV — A ship carrying Ukrainian grain left the port of Odesa on Monday, the first to do so as part of a deal to unblock Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, said Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.

“The first grain ship since #RussianAggression has left port. Thanks to the support of all our partner countries & @UN we were able to fully implement the agreement signed in Istanbul,” he wrote on Twitter.

Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations agreed a deal to secure the safe export of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, which were blockaded after Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24.

“Unlocking the ports will provide at least $1 billion in foreign exchange revenue for the economy and an opportunity for the agricultural sector to plan next year’s sowing season,” Kubrakov said in a separate ministry statement.

“In the ports of Greater Odessa another 16 vessels are already waiting their turn. These are the vessels that have been blocked since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion,” he said.

“Today Ukraine, together with its partners, makes another step to prevent world hunger.”

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets Writing by Tom Balmforth Editing by David Goodman)

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