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Second Ukrainian ship loaded with grain departs Odessa

"Primus" sails to Bulgaria to avoid Russian attacks

Left Odessa yesterday Sunday, August 27 "Primus", the second Ukrainian ship loaded with grain. To avoid Russian attacks it sails toward Bulgaria. After Russia abandoned the grain agreement, the Black Sea is a battlefield and ships have to take alternative routes-this means sailing along the coasts of Bulgaria and Romania, Nato countries. The Primus arrived in Ukraine on February 20, 2022 from Greece: it had been in the port of Odessa ever since and could not leave it. 

The bulk carrier is the second to leave Odessa after the conclusion of the "grain agreement" between Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. The first left the port of Odessa on Aug. 16: it was the Hong Kong container ship Joseph Schulte, which had been stationed in the Odessa port since Feb. 23, 2023. After Russia withdrew from the agreement, additional risks have emerged for ships bound for Ukraine or coming from Ukrainian ports, but these are related to the Russian side's failure to comply with inspection requirements. 

Yesterday, Ukrainian deputy Prime minister Oleksandr Kubrakov confirmed the "safe" passage of a second ship through the Black Sea from the Ukrainian port of Odessa: on Instagram, Kubrakov, explained that the Liberian-flagged container ship Primus sailed through a temporary corridor set up for civilian vessels.

The Ukrainian authorities, in fact, announced in recent days the creation of a kind of "temporary corridor": it is expected to be used for the evacuation of foreign ships from Ukrainian ports, which had previously arrived there with their goods. We are talking about ports such as Odessa, Yuzhny and Chernomorsk. 

Last saturday, Aug. 26, the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Turkey discussed the possible restoration of the grain agreement, which, however, is not sustainable without Russia. "We continue our efforts to reactivate the process as soon as possible, before the achievements of the Black Sea Initiative are lost -said Hakan Fidan, Turkish foreign minister-. We anticipated this and had discussed with our friends about the possibility of thinking about alternative solutions that do not involve Russia".

Kiev has been actively seeking solutions to protect its ships from possible Russian attacks: alternatives include increased land routes, as well as a possible convoy system with Nato escort. The latter proposal, however, has not been accepted by the United States. 

Also on saturday, Ukrainian officials sharply criticized the five EU countries that want to extend the limits, i.e., the ban, on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products until at least the end of 2023: these are Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania. The five countries insist that cheap Ukrainian food products destabilize their agricultural sectors. 

Since the beginning of the year, the five countries have found that grain products, instead of transiting to other destinations, were pouring into domestic markets, altering the price and sales of local products. The current import ban is in effect until Sept. 15.Kiev called this behavior "categorically unacceptable".

On August 11, Romania said it could effectively double the transit of Ukrainian grain to help Kiev overcome the blockade. But as far as its supplies are concerned, Bucharest is sticking to the ban.

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EFA News - European Food Agency