Ukraine expects biggest convoy of ships to load since grain export deal
KYIV, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Ukraine expects five ships to arrive at its Chornomorsk Black Sea port on Wednesday for loading with more than 70,000 tonnes of agricultural products, the largest convoy so far under a U.N.-brokered grain export deal.
The Ukrainian sea ports authority said in a statement that the new cargoes would include wheat, corn and sunseed oil.
Thanks to the framework agreement brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, Ukraine managed in early August to resume exports from its Black Sea ports, which had been stalled for five months because of Russia's Feb. 24 invasion.
The sea ports authority said that 24 ships carrying food had left Ukrainian ports so far during the 17 days of the grain corridor operation under the Initiative for the Safe Transportation of Grain and Foodstuffs.
"Today we expect 5 vessels to enter at the port of Chornomorsk - this is the largest figure during the operation of the 'grain corridor'," it said.
Ukraine used to export by sea 5 million to 6 million tonnes of agricultural products monthly before the Russian invasion blocked Ukrainian ports.
Moscow calls its action in Ukraine a "special military operation" to demilitarise its neighbour and protect Russian-speaking communities. Ukraine calls it an imperial-style war of conquest.
Kyiv has said it hoped to increase the monthly volume of sea exports to 3 million tonnes in the coming future in order to clear a backlog of 18 million tonnes of grains left over from last year's harvest and start selling the new crops. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
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