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Ukraine announces ‘humanitarian corridor’ for ships trapped in Black Sea ports

10.08.2023 15:45
Ukraine has launched a “humanitarian corridor” to allow cargo ships stuck in its ports since Russia’s 2022 invasion to sail into the Black Sea. 
Photo:PAP/UKRINFORM/Yulii Zozulia

The initiative was announced by the Ukrainian navy on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

"Today a new temporary humanitarian corridor has started to work," Oleh Chalyk, a spokesperson for Ukraine's navy, told the Reuters news agency.

The official added: "The corridor will be very transparent, we will put cameras on the ships and there will be a broadcast to show that this is purely a humanitarian mission and has no military purpose.”

Ukraine’s navy said in a statement that the routes had already been proposed by Ukraine directly to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Kyiv added the routes would "primarily be used for civilian ships which have been in the Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Pivdenny since the beginning of the full-scale invasion by Russia on February 24, 2022."

"Vessels whose owners/captains officially confirm that they are ready to sail in the current conditions will be allowed to pass through the routes," the statement said.

The attempt to reopen sea lanes comes after Russia last month quit the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a year-long deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to unblock Ukrainian ports and allow the export of grain to avert a global food crisis, according to news outlets.

Russia subsequently launched a series of missile and drone strikes on Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa  and the region, destroying ports, granaries, residential buildings, and other facilities, the Euromaidan Press website reported.

Through these attacks, Russia seems intent on imposing a de-facto blockade of the Black Sea, experts have said. 

All the temporary routes opened on Thursday remain at risk due to the Black Sea mining and the military threat from Russia, Ukraine's navy stated.

Meanwhile, the UN has said that Russia's decision to quit the Black Sea Grain Initiative risks creating a global food crisis, hurting poor countries worst, by keeping grain from one of the world's biggest exporters off the market, the Reuters news agency reported.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Thursday is day 533 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, Reuters, euromaidanpress.com