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1st grain-loaded ship leaves Ukraine for Lebanon


The first ship to leave Ukraine under a historic grain export deal departed on Monday from the port of Odesa for Lebanon, the Turkish National Defense Ministry announced.

"The ship is expected to arrive in Istanbul on Aug. 2," the ministry said in a statement, adding that the vessel would continue on its way following inspections in the Turkish metropolis.

Loaded with corn, the Sierra Leone-flagged dry cargo ship Razoni is on course for its final destination of the port of Tripoli in northern Lebanon.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Monday announced that the ship will anchor off the coast of Istanbul around 1200GMT on Tuesday for a joint inspection.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal on July 22 to reopen three Ukrainian ports -- Odesa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny -- for grain that has been stuck for months because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which is now in its sixth month.

To oversee Ukrainian grain exports, a joint coordination center in Istanbul was officially opened on Wednesday, comprising representatives from Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine to enable the safe transportation, by merchant ships, of commercial foodstuffs and fertilizers from the three key Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

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