Five latest developments linked to Russia's invasion

01 August 2022
 Five latest developments linked to Russia's invasion

The departure of the first Ukrainian ship carrying grain from Odesa since the start of the Russian blockade of Black Sea ports five months ago has been widely welcomed.

The warring governments in Kyiv and Moscow praised the development as a positive move, while the European Union, the United Nations and NATO also expressed approval and relief.

Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said that 16 more ships, all blocked since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, were awaiting their turn in Odesa.

 Infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said Ukraine is the fourth-largest corn exporter in the world, “so the possibility of exporting it via ports is a colossal success in ensuring global food security".

He added that the shipments would also help Ukraine’s war-shattered economy. “Unlocking ports will provide at least $1 billion (€970 million) in foreign exchange revenue to the economy and an opportunity for the agricultural sector to plan for next year,” Kubrakov said.

An agreement, signed in July after being brokered by Turkey with UN support, allows the resumption of Ukrainian exports — blocked since the start of the Russian invasion — under international supervision.

It envisages secure corridors to allow commercial ships to sail in the Black Sea and allow the export of 20 to 25 million tonnes of grain.

 A crucial part of the deal is that it also allows Moscow to export its agricultural products and fertilisers, despite Western sanctions.

Kyiv, which accuses Russia of seeking to destroy the Ukrainian economy, has expressed scepticism that Moscow will stick to the accord.

"If Russia actually realises that we're doing a good job and we're managing to stabilise our economy, and maybe even increase some of our reserves, that's going to mean they have every incentive to sabotage those deals yet again," Alexander Rodnyansky, economic adviser to Ukraine's presidency, told the BBC.