Live: First grain shipment leaves Ukraine’s Odesa port under UN-backed deal

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The first shipment of Ukrainian grain left the port of Odesa on Monday morning, Turkey said, following Ukraine and Russia’s signing last month of a landmark deal at restarting grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Follow FRANCE 24’s live blog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).


1:30am: Russia says it has ‘little ability’ to help with Nord Stream 1 repair

There is little Russia can do to help with urgent repairs required to malfunctioning Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline equipment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

Russia cut gas supplies via Nord Stream 1, its main gas pipeline to Europe, to just 20 percent of capacity last week, saying that a turbine sent to Canada for maintenance had not yet come back and that other equipment also needed repair. This signalled a deepening of a row in which Moscow has cited turbine problems as its reason for cutting gas supply via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

“There are malfunctions which require urgent repairs and there are certain artificial difficulties which were caused by sanctions,” Peskov said. “This situation needs a fix and Russia has a little ability to help here,” he added.

12:30pm: UN chief Guterres welcomes first grain ship leaving Odesa

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday welcomed the departure of the first ship carrying grain from Odesa, which was en route to Lebanon, saying he hoped it would be the first of many since a deal was brokered on exports, his spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General hopes that this will be the first of many commercial ships moving in accordance with the initiative signed, and that this will bring much-needed stability and relief to global food security especially in the most fragile humanitarian contexts,” the UN statement said.

The World Food Programme also planned to purchase, load and ship an initial 30,000 metric tonnes of wheat out of Ukraine on a UN-chartered vessel, the statement added.

12:20pm: EU urges Russia to fully implement grain deal with Ukraine

The European Union on Monday welcomed the departure of a grain shipment from Ukraine as a “first step” towards mitigating the food crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of its neighbour. But EU spokesman Peter Stano said Brussels still expects the “implementation of the whole deal and resumption of Ukrainian exports to the customers around the world”.

11:28am: Kremlin says first grain ship to leave Ukraine ‘very positive’ news

The Kremlin said that news of the first ship carrying grain to leave Ukraine‘s port of Odesa under a deal brokered by Turkey was “very positive”.

“As for the departure of the first ship, this is very positive. A good opportunity to test the effectiveness of the mechanisms that were agreed during talks in Istanbul,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

11:18am: Russia outlines plans to rebuild Ukraine’s Mariupol in attempt to gain support in occupied territories

A senior Russian official on Monday outlined plans to rebuild Ukraine‘s southern port city of Mariupol, which suffered a devastating siege and heavy shelling before being captured by Russian troops. The move comes as part of Moscow’s wider efforts to gain support in Ukrainian regions that have come under Russian control since the start of the February invasion.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said in an interview with Russia’s RBC TV channel that the first buildings currently under construction will be ready by the autumn. “The first residential buildings will be standing by September. We will already have the first hospitals, will build a centre of the emergencies ministry,” he said.

Khusnullin also said there were plans to rebuild the historic centre of Mariupol, renovating all buildings that were not completely destroyed by Russian shelling.

11am: Ukraine grain shipment ‘relief for the world’, Kyiv says

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Monday hailed the departure of the first shipment of grain from the port of Odesa since the start of Russia’s invasion as a “relief for the world”.

“The day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, as the first Ukrainian grain leaves Odesa after months of Russian blockade. Ukraine has always been a reliable partner and will remain one should Russia respect its part of the deal,” Kuleba tweeted.

8:45am: First ship carrying Ukrainian grain has left port of Odesa, Turkey says

The first shipment of Ukrainian grain left the port of Odesa on Monday, the Turkish defence ministry said, under a deal aimed at relieving a global food crisis following Russia’s invasion of its neighbour.

“The ship Razoni has left the port of Odesa bound for Tripoli in Lebanon. It is expected in Istanbul on August 2. It will then continue its journey after it has been inspected in Istanbul,” the ministry said.

Ukraine said the vessel was carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn. It also underwent an inspection in Istanbul before continuing to Lebanon’s Tripoli, a UN-led monitoring centre said on Monday.

The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni is expected to arrive at the inspection in Turkish waters on August 2, the Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) said, adding it had requested all parties to inform militaries to ensure its safe passage.

The JCC – which includes United Nations, Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish officials – had verified the Odesa port’s readiness, as well as the vessel’s capability to depart ahead of the authorisation, it said.

6:09am: First grain ship could leave Ukraine on Monday, Turkey says

The possibility of the first grain-exporting ship leaving Ukraine’s ports on Monday is high, a spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

Speaking in an interview with broadcaster Kanal 7, Ibrahim Kalin said the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul will probably complete the final work on the exporting routes very soon.

“If all (details) are completed by tomorrow, it seems like there is a high possibility that the first ship will leave the port tomorrow … We will see ships leaving the ports the next day at the latest,” Kalin said.

5:57am: Zelensky condemns ‘brutal’ Russian shelling of Mykolaiv

“Today, one of the most brutal shellings of Mykolaiv and the region over the entire period of the full-scale war took place. Dozens of missiles and rockets,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address.

“I want to thank every resident of Mykolaiv for their indomitability.”

Ukrainian agricultural magnate Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, and his wife Raisa were killed when a missile struck their house, authorities said.

Vadatursky owned major grain exporter Nibulon and was previously decorated with the prestigious “Hero of Ukraine” award.

Zelensky offered condolences and paid tribute to Vadatursky in his Sunday address.

3:21am: Sunday shelling spans from Black Sea to Ukraine’s northern border

Besides Mykolaiv, Russian forces shelled the Sumy region’s northern border seven times on Sunday, with more than 90 individual strikes, Sumy Governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky said on his Telegram channel. A farm was damaged and 25 hectares (61.8 acres) of wheatfields were destroyed, he said.

Up to 50 Grad rockets hit residential areas in the southern city of Nikopol on Sunday morning, Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram. One person was wounded.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)