| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Two more ships pass through Black Sea corridor, Zelenskiy says

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that two additional ships have passed through a “temporary” Black Sea shipping corridor established after Russia pulled out of a United Nations-backed grain export arrangement in July.

“Two ships have successfully passed through our temporary ‘grain corridor,'” Zelenskiy wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

The president did not name the vessels involved or specify when they finished their journey. Officials stated on Friday that two vessels have cleared the corridor, increasing the total number of vessels using it to four.

According to Zelenskiy, Ukraine is “restoring true freedom of navigation in the Black Sea.” “To be free, you must be determined.”

On Friday, a Ukrainian deputy prime minister said two vessels had passed through the corridor from the port of Pivdenny: one flagged in Liberia, the other in the Marshall Islands. The vessels were carrying pig iron and iron concentrate.

Russia has blockaded Ukrainian ports since it invaded its neighbor in February 2022, and threatened to treat all vessels as potential military targets after pulling out of the U.N.-backed deal.

In response, Ukraine announced a “humanitarian corridor” hugging the western Black Sea coast near Romania and Bulgaria.

The grain agreement had allowed Ukraine, a major agricultural exporter, to ship tens of millions of metric tons of produce to other countries during Russia’s invasion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on Monday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi as Ankara and the United Nations seek to revive the grain export deal.

Russia quit the deal in July after it had been in effect for a year, complaining that its own food and fertiliser exports faced obstacles and that not enough Ukrainian grain was going to countries in need.

  • Reuters