EU and NATO want Russians to let more Ukrainian grain exports through

The European Union and NATO on Monday welcomed the departure of the first grain shipment from Ukraine as a "first step" in overcoming the international food crisis caused by the Russian invasion.

However, the EU says that Brussels still expects Moscow to “fully implement the agreement and resume Ukrainian exports to customers around the world”. Earlier, the Sierra Leone registered cargo ship Razoni left the Ukrainian port of Odessa bound for Lebanon with a cargo of 26,000 tons of grain. 

Last weekend, a Syrian-flagged ship carrying a cargo of grain was detained in the Lebanese port city of Tripoli, at the request of the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut. Lebanese police are investigating the "Laodicea" cargo.

According to the Ukrainian ambassador, the grain comes from Russian-occupied Ukrainian gebieden. The diplomat contacted Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Thursday about the ship's "illegal" cargo. Ukraine regularly accuses Russia of “stealing” agricultural products, especially grain, from occupied territory. 

According to the first findings, the shipping company of the “Laodicea” belongs to a Turkish national and the grain belongs to a Syrian trader. Part of the cargo therefore had to be unloaded in Lebanon, the rest was destined for Syria. According to the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it concerns "barley and flour". 

A Lebanese customs official said the ship's documents were "in order and there is no evidence that the goods were stolen". The Turkish authorities had already seized the ship "should it come under sanctions". In Lebanon, which has been badly hit economically, there is currently a major bread shortage.