Kyiv, Sep 19 (EFE).- The first cargo ship carrying Ukrainian grains on Tuesday left the port of Chornomorsk in the Odessa region of Ukraine, becoming the first civilian vessel to defy Russia’s naval blockade in the Black Sea since mid-July.
“The vessel ‘Resilient Africa’ with 3,000 tons of wheat has left the port of Chornomorsk and is heading towards the Bosphorus (strait),” Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov said on X, formerly twitter.
Kubrakov said that “Resilient Africa” and “Aroyat” were the first two civilian cargo ships that arrived in the port of Chornomorsk last week through a “temporary corridor” established by the Ukrainian Navy for civilian vessels in the restive Black Sea.
“The other vessel is in the port loaded with Ukrainian wheat (destined) for Egypt,” he said.
Both cargo ships, flying the flag of the Republic of Palau – an island country in the western Pacific – are collectively transporting around 20,000 tons of Ukrainian grain, destined for export to Africa and Asia.
In July, Russia unilaterally terminated the grain export agreement it had signed with Ukraine in 2022 to allow the export of grain through Ukraine’s three Black Sea ports.
Shortly after withdrawing from the deal, Moscow warned that any ship entering the Black Sea and heading for Ukrainian ports would be considered as a legitimate military target, under suspicion of transporting war materials.
In response, Ukraine increased its attacks on Russian military ships in the Black Sea.
In recent weeks, Ukrainian drone and missile attacks have inflicted heavy damage on several Russian vessels, challenging Russia’s dominance in the Black Sea.
The resumption of commercial shipping of Ukrainian agricultural exports, without Russia’s consent, poses a new challenge to Russia’s maritime supremacy in the region.
Russia has also consistently carried out strikes against Ukrainian ports and agricultural infrastructure since withdrawing from the grain export agreement in July .EFE