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ISTANBUL: The first grain ship to leave a Ukrainian port in wartime passed through the Bosphorus Strait on Wednesday en route to Lebanon for a delivery that foreign powers hope will be the first of many to help ease a global food crisis.

The Razoni left Odesa on the Black Sea early on Monday carrying 26,527 tonnes of corn and anchored at the entrance of the Bosphorus Strait on Tuesday night. The shipment was made possible after Turkey and the United Nations brokered a grain and fertiliser export agreement between Moscow and Kyiv last month - a rare diplomatic breakthrough in a drawn-out war of attrition.

The ship entered the Bosphorus Strait around 1130 GMT, following the completion of the inspection by Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN personnel working at a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in nearby Istanbul.

Ukraine said it had 17 more vessels loaded with agricultural products awaiting approval to set sail. Ukraine’s ambassador to Lebanon, Ihor Ostash, said the Razoni was expected to arrive in Tripoli port in four to five days.

THREE SHIPS A DAY

The JCC said the ship was cleared after a three-hour inspection. Information from the crew about the Razoni’s journey will be used to fine-tune procedures to continue the safe passage of commercial vessels under the deal, it added.

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