Russia began shipping grains from Ukraine’s occupied territory on Thursday. A vessel loaded with 7,000 tons of cereal from southern Ukraine left the occupied port of Berdyansk.
For weeks, Kyiv accused Russia and its allies of stealing grains from southern Ukraine, contributing to global food shortages by grain exports blocked in Ukraine’s ports. However, Kyiv said that until now, shipments were transported by land.
Thursday’s grain shipment from the Berdyansk port marks the launching of a sea route for exporting wheat to third countries from Ukraine.
He mentioned that Russia’s Black Sea vessels are establishing the security of the journey, adding that the Ukrainian port was successfully demined. Beletsky, however, did not specify the ultimate destination of the cargo.
Ukraine’s Kherson and Zaporizhzhia have been under Russia’s control since the first weeks of Moscow’s military intervention and are now integrated into Russia’s economy.
A ‘Goodwill gesture.’
The pro-Moscow officials in Ukrainian regions claim they’ve “nationalized” state infrastructure and property there and buy their crops from local farmers.
Vladimir Rogov, a representative of the pro-Moscow authorities, informed the news agency RIA Novosti that almost 1.5 million tons of grain can be exported via Berdyansk.
Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, Europe’s breadbasket, has spiked food prices and resulted in shortages, as Russia blocking Black Sea ports hinders millions of tons of grains from being shipped.
The crisis has also sparked fears of famine, especially in vulnerable nations reliant on exports from Ukraine, particularly Africa.
Russia has said it will allow Ukraine to ship its grain if Kyiv forces actively demine the sea lanes. Kyiv fears that there will be a Russian attack on the Black Sea coast of Ukraine.
Talks that involve the UN and Turkey have yielded no significant results until now.
On Thursday, Russia declared to pull back its forces from Snake Island in Ukraine, referring to it as a “goodwill gesture” to permit Kyiv to export its agricultural products.
Russia, the largest wheat exporter in the world, has made it apparent that it is encountering difficulties in exporting its grain due to Western sanctions after its war in Ukraine.
Pro-Moscow officials in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia hope that occupied territories will stage a referendum and join Russia shortly.
On Wednesday, the pro-Russian authorities mentioned launching train and bus services between Crimea, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson.
The Kherson region’s pro-Moscow administration announced the introduction of a branch of Russia’s Pension Fund for paying state pensions.
Putin has declared that the forces of Russia will not occupy Ukraine. The Kremlin also claims that residents get to choose their future, suggesting they favour a referendum on Ukraine’s occupied territory.
References: The Moscow Times, Republic World