Kyiv, Ukraine—Kyiv said Thursday that a 25th cargo ship carrying grain had departed Ukraine under a deal with Russia brokered by Turkey and the UN to unblock the country’s blockaded ports.
The departure comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN chief Antonio Guterres, who key to the reaching of the accord, were convening in the western Ukraine city of Lviv to meet with Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky.
“The cargo ship I Maria departed from the port of Chornomorsk. It is loaded with 33,000 tons of corn,” Ukraine’s ports authority said in a statement on social media, adding the ship was expected to arrive in Egypt in a few days.
It said that 600,000 tons of Ukrainian agricultural products had been shipped through a corridor agreed by Moscow and Kyiv in Istanbul last month.
The grain agreement lifted a Russian blockade of Ukraine’s ports and established safe corridors through the naval mines laid by Kyiv.
“So far, 25 ships with Ukrainian products left the ports of Odessa, Pivdennyi and Chornomorsk for the Bosphorus strait,” the ports authority added.
Earlier this week, a first UN-chartered vessel laden with grain set off from Ukraine for Africa under the deal, the ministry in charge of shipments said.
Ukraine and Russia are two of the world’s biggest grain exporters. The halt in exports saw grain prices soar and fears rise of global food shortages, particularly in poor countries already experiencing shortfalls.
The first commercial ship carrying grain left on August 1.
Meanwhile, Ratings agency Fitch raised Ukraine’s credit score on Thursday after the war-torn secured a two-year reprieve on its foreign debt from creditors.
Fitch said the August 11 agreement gives Kyiv breathing room on almost $6 billion in principal and interest owed on Eurobonds, “alleviating external debt servicing pressure, in the context of weakening international reserves and acute war-related spending needs.”
Fitch had placed Ukraine in restricted default last week while fellow ratings agency S&P Global downgraded the country to selective default status.
While Fitch upgraded Ukraine on Thursday from RD to CC, the rating means the risk of some kind of default appears probable.
“Despite this debt servicing relief, the ‘CC’ rating reflects unresolved debt sustainability risks resulting from Russia’s attack and Ukraine’s highly stressed public and external finances and macro-financial position,” Fitch said.