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First Ukraine grain ship since Russian blockade reaches Istanbul

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The first grain ship to sail from Ukraine since Russia reimposed its Black Sea blockade in July reached İstanbul on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reported, citing marine traffic monitors.

Ukrainian officials said the Palau-flagged Resilient Africa vessel was carrying 3,000 tons of wheat when it left Ukraine’s Chornomorsk port on Tuesday.

It was destined for Israel, according to marine traffic websites, representing the first successful Black Sea voyage since Russia pulled out of a UN-backed deal to export Ukrainian grain.

Ukraine is testing a new sea route that avoids international waters and follows those controlled by NATO members Bulgaria and Romania.

It had earlier successfully sent several cargo ships along that route that were not carrying Ukrainian grain.

These voyages became safer after Russia was forced to pull back its warships following a series of successful Ukrainian missile strikes on the Kremlin-controlled peninsula of Crimea, where Moscow’s Black Sea fleet is based.

Russia also stepped up attacks on Ukraine’s Black Sea port infrastructure after abandoning the grain deal.

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