The Ukrainian government said that the first ship carrying food aid to Africa from Ukraine since Russia began its invasion in February has left the country’s Black Sea port of Pivdennyi.
The Brave Commander, a ship chartered by the UN and filled with 23,000 tonnes of wheat, left for Djibouti on Tuesday with supplies for people in Ethiopia, according to a statement from Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry.
As worries about a global food crisis caused by Moscow’s war on Ukraine grow, the ministry said it was working with the UN to increase “food supplies for the socially vulnerable parts of the African population.”
Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure, said that the Brave Commander should be in the Horn of Africa in two weeks.
Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports has hurt the country’s grain exports. This has caused food prices to rise around the world and sparked fears of food shortages in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
After a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, which was brokered by the UN and Turkey, Ukraine’s ports were reopened last month. This means that Ukraine can now export hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grain, other food supplies, and fertilisers to buyers around the world. Turkey’s defence ministry says that so far, 21 ships have left Ukrainian ports as part of the deal.