First shipment of grain from Ukraine since the war to arrive in Ireland today

The very first shipment of grain to Ireland, from Ukraine since its invasion by Russia last February, is due to arrive at the port of Foynes in County Limerick on Saturday.

The Panamanian-flagged NAVI STAR left the port of Odessa on August 5 carrying 33,000 tonnes of grain destined for Irish farmers for animal feed on first commercial voyages out of Ukraine as part of a UN-backed deal lifting Russia’s blockade of the Black Sea.

Two other ships that left the Ukrainian port of Chornmorsk were bound for Britain and Turkey, with 24,000 tonnes of grain between them.

Sailing the Navi Star to Ireland on behalf of Cork-based grain and feed company R&H Hall is seen as a positive step for the global grain supply chain which has been in crisis because of the war,

Welcoming the cargo ship to Foynes, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko, said she was “pleased that Ireland is among the first countries to receive Ukrainian maize by sea, as Ireland strongly supports the Ukraine and is a true friend of the Ukrainian people”.

Ms Gerasko said Ireland had taken ‘extraordinary steps to provide safe haven for our nationals fleeing war, and this shipment of 33,000 tonnes of maize will lift the burden of uncertainty from Irish farmers – they are waiting for food of their kettle since the beginning of the full-scale war launched by Russia against my country”.

The Ukrainian ambassador said the resumption of agricultural exports from Ukraine, since August 1, had already “contributed significantly to lower (world) food prices, by 8.6% in July compared to June and 14.5% in August”, and “would also help mitigate the negative effect of the war on the Ukrainian economy”.

She maintained that Ukraine would fulfill “all its obligations” under the Black Sea Grains Initiative, but stressed that global food security would only be maintained “if Russia also abides by the provisions of initiative”.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Dublin said Russia had already committed “food terrorism” by “deliberately destroying our agricultural infrastructure and stealing Ukrainian grain and agricultural machinery”.

“Russian troops’ missile strikes damaged and destroyed many farms, food and seed stocks, silos, warehouses, oil depots,” he added.

Former defense minister Willie O’Dea said he was ‘pleased that the deal allowing grain exports to leave Ukraine is still in place’ and he said he hoped it could mark the “beginning” of a possible peace agreement in Ukraine.

“For months, grain supplies were stuck in Ukrainian ports, and they couldn’t get out, and maybe (that) means it’s possible, the reality of a peace agreement “said Limerick Fianna Fáil TD.

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