October 3, 2022

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The first shipment of grain to Ireland from Ukraine since it was invaded by Russia in February, is due to arrive into Foynes Port, Co Limerick on Saturday.

The Panama-flagged Navi Star left Odessa Port on August 5th under a UN-backed deal lifting Russia’s blockade of the Black Sea. It is carrying 33,000 tonnes of grain to be used by Irish farmers for animal feed.

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

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

Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko said she was “happy that Ireland is among the first countries to receive Ukrainian corn by sea, as Ireland strongly supports Ukraine and is a true friend of the Ukrainian people”.

Ms Gerasko said Ireland had taken “extraordinary steps to provide a safe haven for our nationals fleeing the war, and this shipment of 33 thousand tonnes of corn will lift the burden of uncertainty from the Irish farmers – they have been waiting for their kettle’s food since the beginning of the full-scale war unleashed by Russia against my country”.

The Ukrainian ambassador said Ukraine’s resumption of agricultural exports, since August 1st, had already “significantly helped to drive down (world) food prices, by 8.6% in July from June and by 14.5% in August”, and also would “help lessen the war’s negative effect on the Ukrainian economy”.

She argued Ukraine would fulfill “all of its obligations” under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, but she stressed global food security would only be maintained “if Russia also sticks to the initiative’s provisions”.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Dublin shared claims Russia has already committed “food terrorism” by “purposefully destroying our agricultural infrastructure and stealing Ukrainian grain and agricultural machinery”.

“The missile strikes of Russian troops damaged and destroyed many farms, stocks of food and seeds, silos, warehouses, oil depots,” it added.

Former defence minister, Willie O’Dea, said he was “delighted the deal to allow grain exports leave Ukraine is still holding” and he said he hoped it might signal the “start” of a potential peace deal in Ukraine.

“For months grain supplies were held up in the ports in Ukraine and they couldn’t get out, and maybe (this) signifies that it is possible, the reality of a peace deal,” said the Limerick Fianna Fáil TD.

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