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Ukrainian grain shipped down Danube River

Over four days, a total of 16 cargo ships crossed the Bystre spit on the Danube River in order to retrieve export-earmarked grain from the Ukrainian ports, Ukraine’s deputy Infrastructure Minister Yurii Vaskov said on the turn of Tuesday and Wednesday.

The ministry said that 16 ships were waiting in the ports of Izmail and Reni for Ukrainian grain to be loaded. The ports became operational owning to Ukrainian forces recapturing the Snake Island located near the Bystre spit.

Another 90 ships await their turn in the Romanian channel of Sulina. Only four ships have been allowed passage per day but Ukraine is negotiating an increase of the daily capacity to eight.

If the condition is met, Kyiv expects a line of ships to be unloaded in a week’s time, which would result in Ukraine’s monthly export of grain growing to 500,000 tonnes. The ministry said that Ukrainian ports had serviced around 80 percent of exports of the country’s agricultural products. Now, due to the Russian blockade on the Black Sea, exports are restricted to Danube ports, railway lines and land routes.

On Tuesday, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that Turkish, Ukrainian and Russian military delegations would conduct talks on Wednesday on the unblocking of grain export from Ukraine via the Black Sea. A UN representative is to take part in the negotiations.

Ukraine’s deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotskyi said, end-June, that Russians pillaged over 25 percent of grain from the occupied Ukrainian territories, which translates into 400,000 tonnes out of 1.5 million tonnes collected prior to the invasion. Reports emerged saying that the Russians were sending out between 30 and 50 grain-laden trucks from the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol.

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