The first cargo ships are heading to Ukraine to load grain for African and Asian markets since the collapse of a deal with Russia to ensure the safety ships exporting via the Black Sea, a Kyiv official said Saturday.

In July, Russia scuppered a key deal brokered by the UN and Turkey that guaranteed safe passage for grain shipments from Ukrainian ports, and stepped up attacks on Ukraine's port infrastructure.

In August, Ukraine announced the establishment of a "humanitarian corridor" in the Black Sea to circumvent Russia's blockade.

Since then, five vessels have used the corridor to exit Ukraine's ports. "The first civilian ships used the temporary corridor to enter Ukrainian ports," Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a statement on Facebook.

He said the two ships, the Resilient Africa and Aroyat, were en route to load nearly 20,000 tonnes of wheat for African and Asian countries.


"The vessels are under the flag of Palau," he added.

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