Ukraine announced temporary corridors for commercial vessels to depart Black Sea ports despite ongoing threats from Russia.
The routes will be used to allow civilian vessels to leave Ukrainian ports Chernomorks, Odesa and Southern, Ukraine’s navy announced via Facebook. Merchant ships that can confirm their readiness to sail will be allowed on the routes.
The last commercial ship to leave a Ukrainian port with grain was on July 16, the Ukrainian Naval Forces said in the Facebook post, the day before Russia withdrew from the United Nations-Turkey brokered grain deal.
Russia previously said that any ships going to Ukraine would be treated as potentially carrying military cargo.
Turkey continues to push for a revival of the grain deal, Al-Monitor reported. Under the grain deal, vessels exported 32,856,036 tonnes of foodstuffs from Ukraine.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, during which Putin reiterated his stance that Russia would join the grain deal when its conditions were met.
Ukraine’s largest export is its grain, which is often supplied to lower-income countries, whether as raw data or processed foodstuffs, USNI News previously reported. Exports are also a large part of the country’s economy.
Since Russia withdrew from the grain deal, Moscow has bombed Odesa, including hitting stocks of grain. Ukraine has also used drones to attack Russian ports and assets in Crimea.
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder did not have additional details about the temporary corridors, he told reporters Thursday.
“Clearly, from a US government standpoint, we would call on Russia to honor the grain deal, recognizing that the impact goes well beyond Europe into places like Africa where people are relying on that grain to be able to feed themselves and feed their families,” Ryder said.