The European Union and NATO welcomed, on Monday, the departure of the first ship carrying cereals from Ukraine and demanded the „full application” of the agreement concluded in Istanbul for the resumption of Ukrainian exports – AFP reports. A first ship left the Ukrainian port of Odessa on Monday with 26,000 tons of corn on board, heading for Lebanon. Before arriving there, however, it is to be inspected in Istanbul, under the authority of the Joint Coordination Center (CCC), inaugurated last Wednesday. The agreement was signed on July 22 by Russia and Ukraine, with the mediation of Turkey and the United Nations. Turkey and the UN allow the resumption of Ukrainian exports under international supervision. In Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelensky estimated that, following the Russian invasion, this year’s cereal crops in Ukraine could be diminished by half. Before the launch of the Russian invasion on February 24, Ukraine held 46% of the world’s sunflower exports, 9% of the wheat exports, 17% of the barley exports and 12% of the corn exports, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Eugen Cojocariu, Radio Romania International