Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the Odesa Oblast on July 29 to inspect preparations for the export of Ukrainian grain, which he said was expected to commence “in the near future.”
"We’re ready to export Ukrainian grain,” Zelesnkyy said in a post on his channel on the Telegram messenger. “We’re waiting for signals from our partners about the start of transportation," he wrote.
The president added that it was important for Ukraine to remain a guarantor of global food security.
"While there are those blockading the Black Sea (ports), taking lives in other states, we’re giving them the chance to survive," the president said.
During the visit, Zelenskyy met with the ambassadors of the G7 countries who are also in the region.
The President’s Office added that the head of state oversaw the loading of Ukrainian grain onto a grain carrier for further export.
Loading took place in the sea trade port of Chornomorsk.
"The first ship has been loaded since the beginning of the war. This is a Turkish ship. This shows that the port is up and running," Zelenskyy said.
The Ukrainian leader said that the export of grain will begin with the dispatch of several ships that were loaded but could not set sail because of the outbreak of the war.
"Our side is fully prepared,” Zelenskyy said.
“We sent all the signals to our partners — the UN and Turkey, and our military guarantees on the security situation. The Minister of Infrastructure is in direct contact with the Turkish side and the UN. We are waiting for a signal from them when we can start.”
The Ministry of Infrastructure reported on July 28 that the sea ports Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Pivdennyi had begun preparing for the loading and shipment of grain. The UN said that the first ship with Ukrainian grain could leave the Black Sea port within the framework of the export agreement on July 29.
Russia attacked the Odesa seaport with Kalibr missiles on July 23, less than a day after signing a deal on the export of grain from the ports. Two of them hit infrastructure facilities, while two more were shot down by air defense forces.
There was grain in the port that was being prepared for export. The Ukrainian military’s South Operational Command reported that the Russian missile did not hit the granary in the port.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine called Russia's missile attack on the sea port of Odesa "Putin's spit in the face of António Guterres and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan."
Ukraine and Russia signed separate but mirrored agreements proposed by the UN and Turkey, to allow Ukrainian grain exports on July 22. The agreement would partially lift the Russian blockade for three Ukrainian ports – specifically the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi. Control over the ports would remain with the Ukrainian side. No other ships, except those that will ensure the export of grain and related products, would be able to enter the ports.
Inspection teams from all parties will be established in Turkey to examine cargo and personnel. Inspections will be carried out exclusively in the harbors, at the entrance and exit from the Turkish Straits.
The Ministry of Infrastructure has said that the three unblocked Black Sea ports of Ukraine will be able to export about 3 million tons of agricultural products every month. The agreement is designed for 120 days and can be extended automatically for the same period.