First ship carrying Ukraine grain leaves Istanbul for Lebanon

The first grain ship carrying Ukrainian corn since the Russian invasion of Ukraine passed inspection in Istanbul and sailed into Lebanon on Wednesday, the Turkish Defence Ministry said.

The Sierra Leone-flagged vessel Razoni was inspected by a team of 20 inspectors of the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), which included Russian, Ukrainian, the U.N. and Turkish officials, the Defence Ministry said. The JCC in Istanbul is responsible for monitoring the grain shipment to and from the Ukrainian ports.

The vessel which carries 27,000 tonnes of Ukrainian corn is expected to reach Lebanon.

Razoni left Odesa in Ukraine on Monday and anchored at the entrance of the Bosporus Strait that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea on Tuesday night.

The vessel was allowed to pass through the Bosporus Strait after Turkey and the United Nations brokered a grain and fertiliser export agreement between Moscow and Kyiv last month. The deal permits passages for grain shipments in and out of Chornomorsk, Odesa and the port of Pivdennyi.

Ukrainian officials said that there were 17 more vessels loaded with agricultural products awaiting approval to set sail.

A senior Turkish official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters that three ships may leave from any of the three Black Sea ports of Odesa and nearby Pivdennyi and Chornomorsk every day, instead of the previously planned one.

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