Ship with grain for hungry Ethiopia leaves Ukraine

Kyiv, Ukraine — A United Nations chartered ship loaded with 23,000 tons of Ukrainian grain destined for Ethiopia departed from a Black Sea port on Sunday, the first shipment of its kind in a program to help countries facing famine.

The Liberian-flagged Brave Commander has departed from the Ukrainian port of Yuzhne, east of Odessa, according to regional governor Maksym Marchenko. It plans to sail to Djibouti, where the grain will be unloaded and transferred to Ethiopia under the World Food Program initiative.

Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement with Turkey on July 22 to restart grain deliveries to the Black Sea.

Ethiopia is one of five countries at risk of starvation, according to the UN.

“The capacity is there. The grain is there. The demand is there all over the world and especially in these countries,” WFP Ukraine coordinator Denise Brown told The Associated Press. “So if the stars align, we’re very, very hopeful that all the players around this agreement on what is really a problem for humanity. So today was very positive.”

On the front lines, Russian forces fired rockets into the Mykolaiv region of southern Ukraine on Sunday, killing at least one person. That region is just north of the Russian-occupied city of Kherson, which Ukrainian forces have promised to recapture. The Ukrainian emergency service said one person was killed in shelling early Sunday at the Bereznehuvate settlement in Mykolaiv.

A Russian diplomat, meanwhile, called on Ukraine to provide security guarantees so that international inspectors can visit a nuclear power plant that has come under fire.

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As fighting intensifies in southern Ukraine as the Russian war approaches six months, concerns have grown over the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which is controlled by Russian forces and has been hit by sporadic shelling. Both Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the shelling, which officials say damaged measuring equipment and could lead to a nuclear disaster.

The Zaporizhzhya plant is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s envoy to international organizations based in Vienna, called on Ukraine to stop attacking the plant to allow for an International Atomic Energy Agency inspection mission.

“It is important that the Ukrainians stop shelling the station and give security guarantees to the members of the mission. An international team cannot be sent to work under continuous artillery shelling,” he told Russia’s state news agency Tass on Sunday.

Ukraine says Russia is shelling nearby regions from the factory and storing weapons there.


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