Zelenskyy observes ships loaded with Ukrainian grain exports

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday visited one of Ukraine’s main Black Sea ports in the Odesa region to observe the loading of export grains trapped in the country since Russia launched the war on Ukraine five months ago. 

Zelenskyy’s visits came one week after Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations (UN) struck a deal to create safe corridors for ships to export grains within 120 days. 

According to reports, all three agreed to facilitate the shipment of Ukrainian wheat and other grains from Black Sea routes, including food and fertilizer from Russia. 

“The first vessel, the first ship, is being loaded since the beginning of the war,” Zelenskyy said

“Our side is fully prepared. We sent all the signals to our partners — the UN and Turkey, and our military guarantees the security situation… it is important for us that Ukraine remains the guarantor of global food security,” Zelenskyy added. 

“We are ready,” Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov also said. 

However, Kubrakov added that Ukraine is still waiting for the United Nation’s confirmation of the safe corridors for the ships navigating the waters – mined with explosives.  

Kubrakov said a ship at the port of Chernomorsk was loaded with grains while waiting. 

Meanwhile, the UN official who mediated the deal, Martin Griffiths, said the first shipment of grains could depart Ukrainian ports on Friday but warned that work is still in progress to finalize the exact coordinates of the safest routes. 

It must be “absolutely nailed down,” Griffiths added. 

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