Live: ‘Too soon’ to celebrate resumption of grain shipments, Zelensky says
Issued on: 02/08/2022 – 06:51Modified: 02/08/2022 – 10:41
The first shipment of Ukrainian grain since the Russian invasion in February left the port of Odesa on Monday under a landmark deal to lift Moscow’s naval blockade in the Black Sea. Kyiv said the departure of the Razoni cargo ship would bring “relief for the world” – if Moscow respected its side of the accord. Follow FRANCE 24’s live blog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
9:56am: Turkey expects one grain ship per day to depart from Ukraine if deal on safe passage holds
Turkey expects roughly one grain ship to leave Ukrainian ports each day as long as an agreement that ensures safe passage holds, a senior Turkish official said on Tuesday after the first wartime vessel safely departed Odesa on Monday.
The exports from one of the world’s top producers are intended to help ease a global food crisis.
“The plan is for a ship to leave … every day,” the senior Turkish official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters, referring to Odesa and two other Ukrainian ports covered by the deal. “If nothing goes wrong, exports will be made via one ship a day for a while.”
9:30am: First shipment of Ukrainian grain expected in Istanbul ‘after midnight’
The first shipment of Ukrainian grain to leave Odesa is expected in Istanbul “after midnight” on Tuesday, the Turkish defence ministry said.
The Sierra Leone-registered ship, the Razoni, set sail on Monday for the city of Tripoli in Lebanon from Ukraine’s southern city of Odesa just after 8am Paris time (6am GMT) carrying 26,000 tonnes of maize. It had originally been expected to arrive in Istanbul early on Tuesday afternoon.
The vessel made its way along the Romanian coast overnight, but switched off its automatic identification system AIS at around 1am Paris time (11pm GMT), meaning it could no longer be tracked, according to the Marine Traffic website. Ankara did not immediately provide any explanation for the move.
6:18am: US corn, wheat prices fall as Ukraine resumes grain shipping, but Zelensky warns against celebrating too soon
US corn and wheat futures fell on Monday as the first ship carrying grain left a Ukrainian port using a newly agreed safe shipping channel, raising hopes that Ukraine’s seaborne exports can resume on a large scale after being blocked by war.
Chicago Board of Trade December corn ended down 10-1/4 cents at $6.09-3/4 a bushel and CBOT September wheat fell 7-1/2 cents to end at $8.00-1/4. November soybeans settled down 62-1/2 cents at $14.06 per bushel.
The five-month halt of deliveries from Ukraine – one of the world’s biggest grain exporters – has contributed to soaring food prices, hitting the world’s poorest nations especially hard.
Kyiv said the departure of the Razoni cargo ship would bring “relief for the world” – if Moscow respected its side of the accord – but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky cautioned it was too soon to celebrate.
“At this time, it is too early to draw any conclusions and make any forecasts,” Zelensky said in his daily video address.
“Let’s wait and see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed.”
5:49am: US accuses Russia of using Ukraine power plant as ‘nuclear shield’
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday called Russia’s actions around Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant “the height of irresponsibility”, accusing Moscow of using it as a “nuclear shield” in attacks on Ukrainian forces.
Russia in March was accused of firing shells dangerously close to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as its forces took it over in the first weeks of the invasion of Ukraine.
Washington is “deeply concerned” that Moscow is now using the plant as a military base and firing on Ukrainian forces from around it, Blinken told reporters after nuclear nonproliferation talks at the United Nations in New York.
“Of course the Ukrainians cannot fire back lest there be a terrible accident involving the nuclear plant,” he said.
Russia’s actions went beyond using a “human shield”, Blinken said, calling it a “nuclear shield”.
The Russian mission to the United Nations in New York strongly rejected Blinken’s accusations.
“We repeatedly stated that actions of our armed forces in no way undermine Ukraine’s nuclear security or impede routine operation of the NPP (nuclear power plant),” the Russian UN mission said in a statement.
3:36am: World Bank surveys ‘extreme’ food price hikes in poor countries
According to a Food Security Update published by the World Bank on Monday, Lebanon faces the world’s worst food inflation, with prices rising 332 percent over the last year. (Lebanon is the destination of the first grain-carrying ship to leave Ukraine’s Odesa port under a UN-backed deal.)
NEW @WorldBank #FoodSecurity Update: High inflation continues in almost all low- and middle-income countries.
The share of high-income countries with high inflation has also increased sharply 📈.
— World Bank (@WorldBank) August 1, 2022
Zimbabwe and Venezuela have also seen triple-digit increases, with Turkey, Iran, Sri Lanka and Argentina next-worst hit. The World Bank highlights the war in Ukraine as a key factor behind the rising prices and food insecurity, alongside a historic drought in the Horn of Africa.
FRANCE 24’s Kate Moody breaks down some of the World Bank’s key findings:
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)