Ship carrying grain for hungry Ethiopia leaves Ukraine

·3 min read

Ethiopia is one of five countries that the United Nations considers at risk of starvation

A United Nations-chartered ship loaded with 23,000 metric tons of Ukrainian grain destined for Ethiopia set sail Sunday from a Black Sea port, the first shipment of its kind in a program to assist countries facing famine.

The Liberia-flagged Brave Commander departed from the Ukrainian port of Yuzhne, east of Odesa, according to regional governor Maksym Marchenko. It plans to sail to Djibouti, where the grain will be unloaded and transferred to Ethiopia under the World Food Program initiative.

Ukraine and Russia reached a deal with Turkey on July 22 to restart Black Sea grain deliveries, addressing the major export disruption that has occurred since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

In normal times, Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters, but the Russian invasion and naval blockade has trapped millions of metric tons of grains here, raising fears of a global food crisis. (Photo by Alexey Furman/Getty Images)
In normal times, Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters, but the Russian invasion and naval blockade has trapped millions of metric tons of grains here, raising fears of a global food crisis. (Photo by Alexey Furman/Getty Images)

Ethiopia is one of five countries that the UN considers at risk of starvation.

“The capacity is there. The grain is there. The demand is there across the world and in particular, these countries,” WFP Ukraine coordinator Denise Brown told The Associated Press. “So if the stars are aligned, we are very, very hopeful that all the actors around this agreement will come together on what is really an issue for humanity. So today was very positive.”

On the front line, Russian forces on Sunday fired rockets on the Mykolaiv region in southern Ukraine, killing at least one person. That region is just north of the Russian-occupied city of Kherson, which Ukrainian forces have vowed to retake. The Ukrainian emergency service said one person was killed in shelling early Sunday settlement of Bereznehuvate in Mykolaiv.

A Russian diplomat, meanwhile, called on Ukraine to offer security assurances so that international inspectors could visit a nuclear power station that has come under fire.

As fighting steps up in southern Ukraine as Russia’s war closes in on six months, concern has grown sharply about the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is held by Russian forces and has been hit by sporadic shelling. Both Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the shelling, which officials say has damaged monitoring equipment and could lead to a nuclear catastrophe.

Young people take a photo by a cargo ship heading to load grains in Reni, in Ukraine, on July 27, 2022 in Sulina, Romania. (Photo by Andreea Campeanu/Getty Images)
Young people take a photo by a cargo ship heading to load grains in Reni, in Ukraine, on July 27, 2022 in Sulina, Romania. (Photo by Andreea Campeanu/Getty Images)

The Zaporizhzhia facility is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Russia’s envoy to international organizations based in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, called on Ukraine to stop attacking the plant in order to allow an inspection mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“It is important that the Ukrainians stop their shelling of the station and provide security guarantees to members of the mission. An international team cannot be sent to work under continuous artillery shelling,” he was quoted as saying Sunday by Russian state news agency Tass.

Ukraine says Russia is shelling nearby regions from the plant and storing weapons there.

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