Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited a Black Sea port to watch crews prepare to export grain trapped by Russia’s five-month-old war
The Associated Press
ODESA, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited a Black Sea port Friday to watch crews prepare to export grain trapped by Russia’s five-month-old war, a week after a deal was struck to allow critical food supplies to flow to millions of impoverished people facing hunger worldwide.
“The first vessel, the first ship is being loaded since the beginning of the war,” Zelenskyy, in his signature olive drab T-shirt, told reporters as he stood next to a Turkish-flagged ship at the Chernomorsk port in the Odesa region.
He said the departure of wheat and other grain will begin with ships that were already loaded but could not leave Ukrainian ports after Russia invaded in late February.
Ukraine is a key global exporter of wheat, barley, corn and sunflower oil, and their loss has raised global food prices, threatened political instability and helped push more people into poverty and hunger in already vulnerable countries.
Ukraine’s military is committed to the ships’ safety, said Zelenskyy, adding, “It is important for us that Ukraine remains the guarantor of global food security.”
His unannounced visit to the port is part of Ukraine’s push to show the world that it is nearly ready to export millions of tons of grains under last week’s breakthrough agreements, which were brokered by Turkey and the United Nations and signed separately by Ukraine and Russia.