Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, announced on Facebook a significant milestone in the country’s maritime export operations. Since 8 August, Ukrainian ports – Pivdennyi, Odesa, and Chornomorsk – have exported over 7 million tons of cargo. Notably, nearly 5 million tons of this cargo comprise agricultural products, highlighting the resilience and productivity of Ukraine’s agrarian sector amid war challenges.
Currently, 31 ships are being loaded in the ports, with an additional 30 vessels navigating the corridor in both directions. This busy traffic signifies not only the volume of exports but also the strategic importance of these maritime routes for Ukraine’s economy and global food supply, especially during the ongoing war.
Russia maintains a de-facto blockade of Ukrainian seaports from the beginning of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Last summer, the UN and Türkiye brokered a “grain deal” with Russia to enable Ukrainian agricultural exports by sea. Russia, however, exited the deal this summer, jeopardizing the exports.
In response, Ukraine announced temporary routes for merchant vessels on 10 August 2023. The primary intent was to ensure civilian vessels could continue their operations amidst Russia’s increased maritime aggression, thereby demonstrating Ukraine’s commitment to safeguarding its maritime trade.
On 25 November, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that Ukraine had secured agreements to receive boats to protect cargo ships navigating the Black Sea grain corridor.
- Grain from Ukraine summit’s statement: Starvation of civilians as warfare tactic prohibited
- Ukraine to receive over USD 2 million from Lithuania to protect grain exports from Russian attacks
- UK intel: Russia’s Black Sea Fleet missile ops face logistics hurdles
- Zelenskyy says Russia’s Black Sea fleet forced to retreat