Ukraine said it was ready for grain ships to travel through its waters, but was awaiting approval from the United Nations, which it hopes to get later on Friday.
An announcement from Lloyd’s of London insurer, Ascot and broker Marsh, that they were launching marine and war insurance for grain and food products moving from Black Sea ports also removed an obstacle to the start of shipments.
Standing in Odessa next to a ship stuck since the invasion, Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kobrakov said, “We hope to get approval today from the United Nations to confirm the lanes we have proposed that ships take in the Black Sea.” Now ready to sail.
“After, after [receiving approval] We’re ready to get started… We hope the first ship will leave our ports by the end of this week. Ukrainian media reported earlier that shipments would begin on Friday.
Under the grain agreement, the United Nations and Turkey guaranteed the safe passage of ships carrying a lot of grain from Ukraine. Russian forces closed Ukrainian ports in February as part of Moscow’s bid to take control of the country, causing a worldwide grain shortage prompting some countries towards starvation.
Ukraine mined the waters along its coast to protect itself from land invasion by Russia. So ships will have to navigate their exits from ports carefully.
“We have solved practically all the technical questions [on our side] About ship routes … We gave the UN some options, Kobrakov said. It now depends on how the United Nations and Turkey facilitate the deal, he said.
Less than 24 hours to sign the agreement, Saturday, Russia Two missiles were fired at the port of Odessaprompting outrage from the international community and questioning whether the grain agreement would go ahead.
Despite the attacks, G7 ambassadors to Ukraine and representatives of the United Nations and the European Union stood by Kubrakov in Odessa on Friday and hoped Russia would keep its side of the bargain.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the port of Chornomorsk in the southern Odessa region, to meet with representatives and to monitor preparations for shipments.
The British ambassador to Ukraine, Melinda Simmons, said that although the UK was not involved in the deal or its implementation, it was helping to secure commercial insurance for ships from service providers in London. Ascott’s announcement indicated progress.
Simmons said last Saturday’s attack raised insurers’ concerns, but they should not be deterred.
“The main thing is not to be afraid of Russia’s tactics because these are the tactics, to prevent this from happening,” she said.
Export Experts He said this week Ship insurance may be one of the biggest obstacles facing Ukraine in terms of future trade.
Simmons said the UK is also helping Ukraine understand how much grain Russia has stolen from its occupied territories. there Growing evidence That Russia was exporting grain from the Ukrainian lands it occupies.
“Millions of people around the world are waiting for grain to come out of this and other Ukrainian ports,” said Bridget Brink, the US ambassador to Ukraine. “A week ago, the Russians signed an agreement with the United Nations and Turkey… 24 hours later, Russia bombed this very port.”
“I hope there will be an agreement later this morning and I can say that the United States and the rest of the world will look to Russia to stand up and implement its agreements,” Brink added.
Ukraine exports at a rate of 2.5 million tons per year, up from 0.3 tons in March, said Remy Duflot, deputy head of the EU delegation to Ukraine at the port.
Before the war, Ukraine exported from six to eight million tons per month. Since its ports on the Black Sea have been blockaded, Ukraine uses the Danube River and railway network to transport its grain.