KYIV, Sept 18 (Reuters) – A total of 165 ships with 3.7 million tonnes of agricultural products on board have left Ukraine under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to unblock Ukrainian sea ports, the Ukrainian infrastructure ministry said on Sunday.
The ministry said 10 ships with 169,300 tonnes of agricultural products are due to leave Ukrainian Black Sea ports on Sunday.
“At 10:00 a.m., 8 ships left the ports of Great Odesa, and 2 more are waiting for their turn and favourable conditions,” the ministry said in a statement.
Ukraine’s grain exports slumped after Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24 and blockaded its Black Sea ports, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.
Ukraine, a global major grain producer and exporter, shipped up to 6 million tonnes of grain per month before the war.
Three Black Sea ports were reopened under a deal signed on July 22 by Moscow and Kyiv and the ministry has said these ports are able to load and send abroad 100-150 cargo ships per month.
In Other Developments:
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday investigators had discovered new evidence of torture used against some soldiers buried near Izium, one of more than 20 towns that were retaken in the northeastern Kharkiv region after a lightning advance by Ukraine’s forces earlier this month.
* He said in a video address that authorities had found a mass grave containing the bodies of 17 soldiers in Izium, some of which he said bore signs of torture.
* The Kremlin has not commented publicly on the discovery of graves at Izium. Moscow regularly denies committing atrocities in the war or deliberately attacking civilians.
* Five civilians were killed in Russian attacks in the Donetsk region over the past day, while in Nikopol several dozen high-rise and private buildings, gas pipelines and power lines were damaged by Russian strikes, the regional governors said separately.
* Russia’s defence ministry said on Saturday its forces had launched strikes on Ukrainian positions in several parts of Ukraine, and accused Kyiv of shelling near the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Ukraine denied shelling near the plant.
* One of the four main power lines at the Zaporizhzhia plant has been repaired and is supplying the plant with electricity from the Ukrainian grid two weeks after it went down, the United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Saturday.
* Both sides reported injuries in fighting in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Saturday.
* Russia has widened its strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine in the past week and is likely to expand its target range further, Britain said on Sunday, while Ukrainians returning to territory abandoned by Russian forces tried to find their dead.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday brushed off Ukraine’s swift counteroffensive, casting Russia’s invasion as a necessary step to prevent what he said was a Western plot to break Russia apart.
* U.S. President Joe Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin not to use tactical nuclear or chemical weapons in the wake of setbacks in Ukraine in a clip released by CBS on Sunday. “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. It would change the face of war unlike anything since World War Two,” he told “60 Minutes”.
* Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a global food crisis aggravated by the war will be the focus of world leaders when they convene for the United Nations General Assembly this week, a gathering that is unlikely to yield any progress toward ending the conflict.
* A total of 165 ships with 3.7 million tonnes of agricultural products on board have left Ukraine under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to unblock Ukrainian sea ports, the Ukrainian infrastructure ministry said.
* “In the last seven days Russia has increased its targeting of civilian infrastructure even where it probably perceives no immediate effect,” Britain’s defence ministry said in a tweet.
“As it faces setbacks on the front lines, Russia has likely extended the locations it is prepared to strike in an attempt to directly undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and government.”
Photo – Officials arrived to inspect the Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni that left the port of Odesa with the first grain shipment for export, off the Kilyos district, near the Black Sea of Istanbul, Turkey, 03 August 2022. EPA-EFE/ERDEM SAHIN