Friday, August 12, 2022

Grain ship to dock in Ukraine, leave for Africa

A ship approached Ukraine on Friday to pick up wheat for hungry people in Ethiopia, in the first food delivery to Africa 

under a U.N. plan to unblock grain trapped by Russia’s war on Ukraine and bring relief to some of the millions worldwide 

on the brink of starvation.

Closing in on the half-year mark, the war has sent food prices sky-high and left poorer countries with ever less hope they 

would be getting supplies from the breadbasket of Europe. On Friday, European Council President Charles Michel announced 

though that the first World Food Program transport for Africa was poised to depart.

He said the ship would load in a Ukrainian port and depart for Ethiopia, saying "cooperation of all involved actors is 

key" to avoid food shortage and hunger around the world. Such a move would be a big step in the food crisis caused by 

Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The ship, Brave Commander, would take more than 23,000 metric tons (27,500 short tons) of grain and export it to Ethiopia.

While Ukrainian and Western officials have repeatedly spoken of the crucial role of grain shipments from Ukraine's Black 

Sea ports in staving off a global food crisis, many of the first dozen vessels to leave the ports were bound for 

destinations in Turkey and Western Europe.

Some analysts attributed this to the need to free up scarce docking space, saying that ships which have been trapped in 

the ports the longest were likely prioritized.

If such news provided a rare glimmer of hope from the gloomiest of surroundings, it was offset by the incessant fighting 

in eastern Ukraine, where the war entered its 170th day. Specifically, the Donbas town of Kramatorsk was hit by 11 rockets 

overnight. Seven people were killed and 14 others were wounded in the region, which remains cut off from gas, running 

water and electricity.

"Three quarters of the population of the region have already been evacuated, because incessant shelling by the Russian 

army doesn't leave civilians any choice — it's either to die from wounds, or from hunger and cold in winter," Donetsk 

regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian television.

The world also continued to worry about the threat of a nuclear disaster in eastern Ukraine where shelling has hit the 

area, which is home to Europe's largest nuclear plant.

Shelling near the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia facility continued overnight. Russian forces fired more than 40 rockets 

at the city of Marhanets, which is across the Dnieper river from the power plant. Three people were wounded in the most 

recent shelling, including a 12-year-old boy. The neighboring city of Nikopol was shelled as well, said Valentyn 

Reznichenko, the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region.

The U.N. nuclear chief warned late Thursday that "very alarming" military activity at the nuclear plant could lead to 

dangerous consequences.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi urged Russia and Ukraine, who blame each other for the 

attacks at the plant, to immediately allow nuclear experts to assess damage and evaluate safety and security at the 

sprawling nuclear complex where the situation "has been deteriorating very rapidly."

He pointed to shelling and several explosions at Zaporizhzhia last Friday that forced the shutdown of the electrical power 

transformer and two backup transformers, forcing the shutdown of one nuclear reactor. Africanews


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