Ukraine ships corn amid shelling

KYIV, Ukraine (AFP) — The first shipment of Ukrainian grain left the port of Odessa on Monday morning, Turkey announced, as Kyiv said the “brutal” shelling by Moscow of the southern city Mykolaiv had killed an agriculture tycoon.

“The ship Razoni has left the port of Odessa bound for Tripoli in Lebanon,” the Turkish ministry said in a statement.

“It is expected in Istanbul on 2 August. It will then continue its journey after it has been inspected in Istanbul,” the statement added.

Other convoys would follow, respecting the maritime corridor and the agreed formalities, it said.

The Joint Coordination Center, the organization overseeing the grain exports, said the Razoni is carrying “over 26,000 metric tons” of maize.

Last month’s landmark deal of warring Russia and Ukraine with Turkey and the United Nations unblock grain deliveries of two of the world’s biggest grain exporters to relieve the global food crisis.

Blockade of Ukrainian grains has contributed to soaring food prices, hitting the world’s poorest nations especially hard.

Tycoon killed

Authorities in Mykolaiv said Sunday that widespread Russian bombardments overnight killed at least two civilians.

Ukrainian agricultural magnate Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, and his wife Raisa were killed when a missile struck their house, authorities said.

Vadatursky owned major grain exporter Nibulon and was previously decorated with the prestigious “Hero of Ukraine” award.

Zelensky offered condolences and paid tribute to Vadatursky in his Sunday address.

Mykolaiv — which has been attacked frequently — is the closest Ukrainian city to the southern front where Kyiv’s forces are looking to launch a major counter-offensive to recapture territory lost after Russia’s February invasion.

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