The possibility of the first grain-exporting ship leaving Ukraine’s ports on Monday is high, a spokesperson for President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.
Speaking in an interview with broadcaster Kanal 7, Ibrahim Kalin said the joint co-ordination centre in Istanbul will probably complete the final work on the exporting routes very soon.
An agreement signed under the stewardship of the UN and Turkey on July 22 aims to allow safe passage for ships carrying grain out of three southern Ukrainian ports.
Russia and Ukraine are major global wheat suppliers, and the UN-brokered agreement they signed in Istanbul last week is intended both to ease the food crisis and reduce global grains prices that have risen since the Russian invasion.
WATCH | Ukraine to resume grain exports despite the risks:
Ukraine to resume grain exports despite Moscow’s attack on Odesa’s port
Ukraine is set to restart exporting grain from its Black Sea ports this week following a deal brokered by the UN with Russia last Friday. This is despite two Russian missiles striking the port in Odesa less than 24 hours after the deal to allow safe passage of grain shipments was finalized.
Ukraine’s president said on Sunday that the country’s harvest could be half its usual amount this year due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Ukrainian harvest this year is under the threat to be twice less,” suggesting half as much as usual, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote in English on Twitter.
“Our main goal — to prevent global food crisis caused by Russian invasion. Still grains find a way to be delivered alternatively,” he added.
Ukraine, a key global supplier of grains, has struggled to get its product to buyers due to a Russian naval blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, stoking global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer.
Elsewhere, a senior official in Russian-annexed Crimea accused Ukraine of carrying out a drone attack ahead of planned celebrations to mark Russia’s Navy Day, injuring six people and forcing the cancellation of festivities.
“An unidentified object flew into the courtyard of the fleet’s headquarters,” Mikhail Razvozhayev, governor of Sevastopol, home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet, wrote on the Telegram messaging app. The Ukrainian Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The drone-borne explosive device was reported to have detonated at the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on the peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The Black Sea Fleet’s press service said the drone appeared to be homemade.
Fighting continued elsewhere in Ukraine. The mayor of the port city of Mykolaiv, Vitaliy Kim, said one person died in Russian shelling that damaged a hotel and school buildings.
Shelling kills owner of top Ukrainian agriculture firm
The founder and owner of one of the largest Ukrainian agriculture companies Nibulon, Oleksiy Vadatursky, and his wife were killed in a Russian strike on the Mykolaiv region, Kim said on Sunday.
The governor said on Telegram that the couple were killed in their home when the city was shelled overnight and on Sunday morning.
Nibulon, which is headquartered in Mykolaiv, specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, and it has its own fleet and shipyard.
In the Sumy region in Ukraine’s north, near the Russian border, shelling killed one person, the regional administration said.
Three people died in attacks over the past day in the Donetsk region, which is partly under the control of Russian separatist forces, said governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.
WATCH | Ukraine orders evacuation of Donetsk region:
Ukraine orders evacuation of Donetsk region
With fighting intensifying, Ukraine’s government has issued a mandatory evacuation notice for people in the eastern Donetsk region.