Ukraine war: First grain shipments leave docks

STORY: The first cargo vessel to leave Ukraine carrying a grain shipment has finally sailed from the Black Sea port of Odesa, after being blockaded there since the Russian invasion began five months ago.

Ukraine's government is calling it a day of relief, and the Kremlin called the Razoni's departure "very positive" news.

Russia and Ukraine make up nearly a third of the world's grain exports, and the conflict has worsened the world's cost of living crisis, particularly for countries threatened by food shortages and hunger.

A young engineer named Abdulluh Jendi is aboard the vessel, which is bound for Lebanon. He's been sharing these images with Reuters.

He says it's an indescribable feeling to be going back home, like being freed from detention after a long time.

Every day, he says, the alarm would go off in the port and he and his crew would be afraid that they might accidentally be hit in an attack.

He's still scared of explosive mines left in these waters. He thinks it could take the ship two or three hours to get out the area safely. The shipment is the result of the safe passage agreement made between Russia and Ukraine's government last month.

Monday's grain shipments come a day after a Ukrainian grain tycoon and his wife were killed in their home by Russian strikes, according to the local governor.

Video released by emergency services is said to show the aftermath.

The United Nations is warning of multiple famines this year. Russia denies responsibility for the food crisis and blames Western sanctions for slowing exports, and it blames Ukraine for the mines.

The Ukraine president's office has previously said that 17 ships are docked waiting departure on the Black Sea, with almost 600,000 tonnes of cargo, mostly grain.

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