A ship carrying 60,000 tons of corn has left a Ukrainian Black Sea port to deliver the first batch of the much-needed food to Iran since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Marshall Island-flagged Star Laura departed from the port of Pivdennyi on Friday, along with the Belize-flagged Sormovsky that left Ukraine's Chornomorsk port laden with 3,050 tons of wheat bound for Turkey's northwestern Tekirdag province.
While Ukraine has restarted its food exports to Iran, the Islamic Republic is said to have plans to export drones to Russia to be used during the war. The US Thursday that Russian officials have undergone training in Iran in recent weeks as part of an agreement on the transfer of drones from the Islamic Republic.
A total of 14 ships – most loaded with grain for animal feed or for fuel -- have now departed from Ukraine over the past two weeks, following the UN-brokered deal with Russia in Turkey to allow a resumption of grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, after they were stalled for five months due to the war.
As part of the UN deal, all ships are inspected in Istanbul by the Joint Coordination Centre, where Russia, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN personnel work.
Ukraine has some 20 million tons of grain left over from last year's crop, while this year's wheat harvest is also estimated at 20 million tons. Ukraine and Russia accounted for nearly a third of global wheat exports and nearly a fifth of corn before February 24, when Russia launched its invasion.