Grain shipments leave Ukraine heading for China, Italy and Turkey

Four more ships carrying grain and sunflower oil have left Ukraine ports via a safe maritime corridor. The ships are bound for Turkey where they will be inspected as part of a deal reached with Russia and the United Nations.

The Joint Coordination Centre, the body set up under the Black Sea Grain Initiative to monitor its implementation, has authorized the departures through the maritime humanitarian corridor.

The ships moving out of Ukrainian ports are headed to China, Italy and two locations in Turkey.

A fifth ship has been authorised to sail to Ukraine to pick up cargo.

They left on Sunday from the ports of Odesa and Chornomorsk, and will all travel through the Bosphorus strait.

Millions of tonnes of grain have been stuck in Ukraine due to Russian blockades, leading to shortages and higher food prices in other countries: last week the first ship left Ukraine's ports since February.

Under a deal brokered by Turkey and the UN last month, Russia agreed not to target ships which were in transit, while Ukraine said it would guide vessels through mined waters.

The deal, set to last 120 days, can be renewed if both sides agree. If the deal holds, Ukraine expects to export up to three million tonnes of grain per month. President Zelensky welcomed the resumption of exports, but said security concerns remained.

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