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U.N. ship leaves Ukraine with wheat for Ethiopia - ministry

KYIV, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The third vessel charted by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), left Ukraine's Chornomorsk Black Sea port with around 30,000 tonnes of wheat on board, Ukraine's infrastructure ministry said on Saturday.

"The vessel is headed for Ethiopia. According to UN estimates, Ethiopia is on the verge of a food crisis," the ministry said in a statement.

It said that in partnership with the WFP, three ships loaded with more than 90,000 tonnes of wheat are on their way to Ethiopia and Yemen.

"We plan to export another 190,000 tonnes, which are currently being purchased by U.N. partners," the ministry said, adding that besides the IKARIA ANGEL, another nine vessels have left Ukrainian ports on Saturday.

The country's grain exports have slumped since the start of the war because its Black Sea ports - a key route for shipments - were closed off, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

Three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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