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Grain Ship From Ukraine Docks In Turkey, Nuke Plant Shelled

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DERINCE (TURKEY), Aug 8: The first of the ships to leave Ukraine under a deal to unblock grain supplies and stave off a potential global food crisis arrived at its destination in Turkey on Monday, as Russia again accused Ukraine of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power station.

The Turkey-flagged Polarnet docked at Derince port in the Gulf of Izmit after setting off from Chornomorsk on Aug. 5 laden with 12,000 tons of corn.

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“This sends a message of hope to every family in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia: Ukraine won’t abandon you,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted. “If Russia sticks to its obligations, the ‘grain corridor’ will keep maintaining global food security.”

Polarnet Captain Ahmet Yucel Alibeyler highlighted the risks faced by the three grain-carrying ships that left Ukraine.

“These were, of course, dangerous areas, corridors that had been cleared, demined,” he said, adding that the convoy was escorted by a harbour pilot ship until it left the risky waters.

A total of 12 ships have now been authorized to sail under the grain deal between Ukraine and Russia, which was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations — ten outbound and two headed for Ukraine. Some 322,000 metric tons of agricultural products have left Ukrainian ports, the bulk of it corn but also sunflower oil and soya.

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Four ships that left Ukraine on Sunday are expected to anchor near Istanbul on Monday evening, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said. They are due to be inspected on Tuesday.

Ships leaving Ukraine are checked by officials from the three countries and the U.N. to make sure they carry only grain, fertilizer or food and not any other commodities. Inbound vessels are checked to ensure they are not carrying weapons.

But the grain deal remains far from plain sailing. The first ship to leave Ukraine, the Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni, which left on Aug. 1, will no longer dock in Lebanon and will change course, the director of the Tripoli Port told The Associated Press on Monday.

The Sierra Leonian-flagged Razoni ship, carrying 26,000 metric tons of corn for chicken feed that departed from Odesa last Monday was set to dock in the northern Lebanese port on Sunday. But according to Marine Traffic, it changed its status on Saturday to “order,” meaning the ship was waiting for someone to buy the corn.

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“All that I know is that the ship is no longer coming here,” Tripoli Port director Ahmad Tamer said.

Ukraine’s embassy in Beirut tweeted on Monday that the corn’s final buyer in Lebanon refused to accept the cargo due to delivery delay beyond a contractual limit and that the shipper was now looking for another buyer.

The shipment had been a grain of hope for the economically-shattered tiny Mediterranean nation, also suffering from a food security crisis. Soaring food inflation, wheat shortages, and breadlines have crippled a population, of which about half are food insecure, according to the United Nations World Food Program.

Meanwhile, Moscow again accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the territory of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station from Marganets on the opposite bank of the Dniper River on Sunday.

The station, occupied for months by Russian forces, also came under fire on late Saturday and each side accused the other of the attack.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement Monday that the Ukrainian attack a day earlier caused a power surge and smoke erupted at the power plant’s switch facility, causing an emergency shutdown. Fire teams extinguished the fire, and the plant’s personnel lowered the output of reactors No. 5 and No. 6 to 500 megawatt, Konashenkov said.

Ukraine’s presidential office said on Monday that the Russian military shelled seven Ukrainian regions over the past 24 hours, killing five people and wounding 20 more.

The Russian forces also continue to shell Nikopol, a city just across the Dnipro River from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the presidential office said. Nikopol’s gas pipelines, plumbing and power lines are no longer functioning, and thousands of people are left without electricity. (AP)


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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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