The first ship loaded with Ukrainian grain left Odesa on August 1 and arrived safely the following day in Turkish waters.

In his August 2 video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “The port [Odesa] started working, the export traffic started, and this can be called the first positive signal that there is a chance to halt the development of a food crisis in the world.”

He also issued a warning, stating: “We cannot be under any illusion that Russia will simply refrain from trying to disrupt Ukrainian exports. Russia consistently provoked famine in Africa and Asian countries, which have traditionally imported significant amounts of Ukrainian food. And now… the threat of a price crisis and a certain food shortage is also present for some European countries.”

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A total of 16 ships are waiting to leave, according to Zelensky, who added: “We are ready to make a proper contribution to the stabilization of the global food market.”

He also made clear that the resumption of traffic is critical to the recovery of over a million jobs in Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia are the world’s largest grain exporters, but the war has resulted in an unofficial Black Sea blockade. As a result, Ukraine’s exports fell to a sixth of what they were before the war, and grain prices rose.

Zelensky claims to have discussed financial support for Ukraine as well as defense and agricultural exports with French President Emmanuel Macron. He also claims to have asked Macron to help Ukraine unblock macro-finance, which he said “has stalled in Europe.” Zelensky strengthened his point by saying “I want to remind all the leaders that this is nine billion euros. These are not trifles for us, but important social things — these are our pensions, these are our salaries and support for immigrants.”

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After the United Nations and Turkey mediated a deal between Russia and Ukraine last month, t long-awaited development on Monday finally occurred, with the hope of easing or at best averting a global food crisis.

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The UN’s World Food Program estimates that because of the war in Ukraine is causing about 47 million people to experience “acute hunger.”

The agreement reached last month to reopen closed Black Sea delivery routes for the export of grain and other agricultural goods aims to help avert famine by injecting more wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizer, and other products into global markets, including for humanitarian purposes. It aims to export 5 million metric tons of grain per month, as it did before the war.

 

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