Ukraine declared a humanitarian corridor on 10 August to allow dozens of cargo vessels trapped at the ports since the war in Ukraine last year to sail into the Black Sea, where shipping channels are under thorough scrutiny since Russia quit a deal that allowed grain exports.
Initially, the corridor seems to apply to vessels like container vessels that have gotten stuck in ports of Ukraine since the invasion in Feb 2022 and were reportedly not covered by the agreement that opened up the ports for grain shipments in 2023.
But it could be a major test of Ukrainian ability to open up the sea lanes when Russia is striving to re-impose a de-facto blockade after it abandoned the grain agreement last month.
Today, a new but temporary humanitarian corridor is operational, Oleh Chalyk, a spokesperson associated with the Ukrainian navy, informed Reuters on call.
The corridor will be transparent; there will be cameras on vessels and a broadcast to highlight that this is a humanitarian mission and does not have any military purpose, he mentioned.
In a statement, the navy added that Ukraine had proposed the channels to the International Maritime Organization (abbreviated the IMO) directly.
The routes will primarily be used for civilian vessels in Ukraine’s ports of Pivdenny, Chornomorsk, and Odesa since the start of the full-scale invasion by Russia on 24 February 2022.
Ships whose captains or owners confirm officially that they are all set to sail under the current situation be permitted to sail through the channels, the statement mentioned.
It added that risk remained from the Black Sea mines and Russia’s military threat.
A German grain trader informed Reuters that some people want more details regarding Ukraine’s temporary shipping channel declared today as it can’t work until Russia is fully committed to not attacking the vessels.
Chalyk shared no indication that the corridor had been agreed upon with Russia. In the previous month, Moscow quit a year-old Black Sea grain agreement that permitted Ukraine to export agricultural products safely, mentioning that a parallel deal to ease Russian grain and fertilizer exports wasn’t implemented.
The UN has stated that Russia’s sudden decision to quit this deal can lead to a global food crisis and hurt poor countries. All this is happening as Russia is keeping grain from one of the greatest exporters in the world off the market.
References: Reuters, CNA, Arab News
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