UNITED NATIONS — As world leaders gather for the second day of high-level meetings at the U.N. headquarters in New York City, seven vessels carrying precious crops quietly departed Ukrainian ports.
The ships sail by way of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a U.N.-backed deal aimed at easing Russia’s naval blockade and reopening three key Ukrainian ports. Representatives from Ukraine, Russia, the U.N. and Turkey held negotiations to create the sea corridor in Istanbul earlier this year and signed the landmark deal on July 27.
Before the war, Ukraine and Russia accounted for almost a quarter of global grain exports until those shipments came to a severe halt for nearly six months.
The first vessel left Ukraine’s port of Odesa on Aug. 1 carrying more than 26,000 metric tons of corn. Since then, more than 180 ships carrying a total of 4.2 million metric tons have departed Ukraine’s ports.