The first shipment of Ukrainian cereals is on its way to Lebanon | War in Ukraine

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The first shipment of Ukrainian grain heads back to Lebanon | War in Ukraine

An inspection team boards the freighter Razoni, off the coast of northwest Istanbul, August 3, 2022.

Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian experts inspected on Wednesday near Istanbul the ship carrying the first grain shipment exported by Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, before the freighter resumed its journey to Lebanon.

Razoni's inspectionlasted just under an hour and a half, AFP found. The freighter then continued on its way, entering the northern entrance of the Bosphorus in the early afternoon.

This inspection marked the end of the #x27;a test phase of operations to implement the international agreement signed in July in Istanbul with a view to curbing the world food crisis, underlined the secretariat of the Joint Coordination Center.

The inspection team was able to speak with the crew and inquire about the journey through the dedicated humanitarian maritime corridor in the Black Sea, he said, before to add that the export of millions of tons of wheat, corn and other cereals must continue from three Ukrainian ports.

The cargo ship, flying the flag of Sierra Leone, left the Ukrainian port of Odessa on the Black Sea on Monday with 26,000 tonnes of maize bound for Tripoli, Lebanon.

The inspection took place in accordance with the wishes of Russia, which wants to be sure of the nature of the cargo.

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">A team of inspectors approaches the freighter Razoni, loaded with the first grain from Ukraine exported since the Russian invasion.

According to kyiv, 16 other boats loaded with grain are waiting to leave Odessa, the main Ukrainian port which accounted for 60% of the country's port activity before the war.

The agreement signed on July 22 between Russia and the x27;Ukraine following the mediation led by Turkey under the aegis of the United Nations allows the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports blocked since the Russian invasion.

The agreement provides in particular for the establishment of secure corridors to allow the circulation in the Black Sea of ​​merchant ships and the export of 20 to 25 million tonnes of cereals.

A similar agreement guarantees Russia the export of its agricultural products and fertilizers, despite Western sanctions.

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The Turks hope that these agreements will help build confidence and lead to talks aimed at a ceasefire between Moscow and Kyiv.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should thus exert pressure for a ceasefire when he meets Vladimir Putin on Friday during the Russian leader's stay in Sochi on the Black Sea.

We discussed whether the grain agreement can be an opportunity for a lasting ceasefire, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed after meeting his counterpart Sergei Lavrov, in Cambodia, on Wednesday.

On the military ground, the Russian army shelled the city of Chuguiv in the north-eastern part of the country. Ukraine, killing one and injuring two, announced on Facebook a police official from the Kharkiv region, Serguiï Bolvinov. He said the person killed and one of the injured are Russian citizens.

Kharkiv, the second Ukrainian city, close to the Russian border, was the target of two strikes overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday from Russian territory, according to regional authorities.

A Ukrainian multiple rocket launcher fire in the Kharkiv region.

Separately, the Russian army announced on Wednesday that it had destroyed a foreign weapons depot in the Lviv region of western Ukraine with high-precision missiles.

In June, Moscow had already claimed to have destroyed a depot of weapons delivered by NATO in western Ukraine, relatively untouched by the shelling.

The southern city of Mykolaiv was shelled again overnight, regional governor Vitali Kim announced on Telegram. A supermarket and a pharmacy were destroyed, while a riding school was hit, he added.

According to Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych, powerful explosions hit were heard Wednesday around 5 a.m.

In the Donbass basin in eastern Ukraine, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of the Donetsk region in the epicenter of the fighting, on Wednesday reported four civilians killed in the last 24 hours.

Ukraine, which is waging a counter-offensive in the south of the country, announced on Tuesday that it had taken over 53 localities in the region of Kherson, the first city of importance fell into the hands of the Russian army on March 3.

In addition, on the energy front, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday accused Russia of #x27;be responsible for blocking the delivery of a turbine currently in Germany, without which the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that supplies gas to Europe cannot function normally, according to Moscow.

< p class="e-p">For the Russian gas giant Gazprom, the return to Russia of this Siemens turbine is impossible due to Western sanctions against Moscow.

European countries accuse Moscow of seeking an excuse to delay the return of this turbine and further reduce its gas deliveries, in the context of tensions around Ukraine.

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