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Four more ships carrying grain leave Ukraine as global hunger crisis looms

A caravan of four ships carrying grain and corn products left Ukraine on Sunday as fighting escalated around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant amid the war with Russia. Photo courtesy Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov/Twitter
A caravan of four ships carrying grain and corn products left Ukraine on Sunday as fighting escalated around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant amid the war with Russia. Photo courtesy Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov/Twitter

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- A caravan of four ships carrying grain and corn products left Ukraine on Sunday, adding relief to the looming global hunger crisis.

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a statement that the second caravan of ships sailed from Ukrainian ports with almost 170,000 tons of agricultural products on board.

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One of the ships was carrying 44,000 tons of corn to the city of Iskenderun in Turkey and another was carrying 66,000 tons of corn to Iran through Istanbul, the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The third ship was carrying 66,000 tons of sunflower oil to Italy while the last was carrying 45,000 tons of sunflower meal to China.

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All of the ships will be anchored north of Istanbul to be inspected by a joint office with representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations as part of a deal made last month to distribute grain from Ukraine -- one of the largest exporters of grain in the world.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the sea export of Ukrainian agricultural products in his nightly address Saturday.

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"Our ports on the Black Sea are operating again. And although it is still too early to give general assessments of the process, we can still say that it is positive both for our state and for all our partners," he said.

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"And we must not forget that the restoration of our sea exports was made possible primarily thanks to our soldiers -- all those who defend Odesa and secured the liberation of Snake Island. These are simply heroes."

The caravan was the second to leave Ukraine after three ships with 80,000 tons of corn left Ukraine on Friday and one lone ship left Ukraine last Monday, the first since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

That ship, the Merchant Vessel Razoni, departed for Tripoli in Lebanon carrying more than 26,500 tons of corn.

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"The ship departing from Odesa today must be the first of many commercial ships bringing relief to global food markets and hope for the millions of people worldwide who depend on the smooth running of Ukraine's ports to feed their families," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement last Monday.

The British Defense Ministry said in a statement Sunday that Sweden will join a growing list of countries contributing to a British-led program to train Ukrainian personnel in the United Kingdom.

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"I am delighted that Sweden has become the latest international partner to provide training for Ukrainian soldiers in the UK alongside our Canadian and Dutch partners," British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.

"Sweden's Armed Forces will provide invaluable expertise, equipping Ukrainian men and women with the skills and proficiency they will need, drawn from a wide spectrum of international support."

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