The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has commended the parties involved in the negotiations of a UN-brokered export deal that secured the first ship carrying grain from Ukraine, raising hopes that a global food supply crisis caused by Russia's invasion can be eased.
The M/V Razoni became the first commercial vessel to leave the crucial Black Sea port since Feb. 26, two days after Russia launched its assault on Ukraine.
“This ship – the Merchant Vessel Razoni – is loaded with two commodities in short supply: corn, and hope,” Guterres said to reporters in New York on Monday. “Hope for millions of people around the world who depend on the smooth running of Ukraine’s ports to feed their families.”
The journey comes after a breakthrough agreement, brokered by the UN and Turkey and signed by representatives from Russia and Ukraine in July, which facilitates the resumption of vital grain exports. Some 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn have been trapped at the port of Odesa.
“Today’s departure is an enormous collective achievement by the Joint Coordination Centre, set up last week in Istanbul under United Nations auspices, with representatives from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and Turkey,” Guterres said. “The parties have worked tirelessly to reach this milestone.”
Guterres called the departure of the first grain ship “an important starting point.” He said, “It must be the first of many commercial ships bringing relief and stability to global food markets.”
Guterres added the UN is “working every day to bring relief to the people of Ukraine, and to those suffering the effects of the conflict around the world.”
“This war must end, and peace must be established, in line with the Charter of the United Nations and international law,” he said.