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Ukraine's Zelenskiy says first grain ship 'nothing', economy in coma

Reference: Reuters

KYIV/ISTANBUL, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy dismissed the importance of the first grain export shipment from his country since Russia invaded, saying it was carrying a fraction of the crop Kyiv must sell to help salvage its shattered economy.

His downbeat comments, via video to students in Australia on Wednesday, came as an inspection of the ship was completed in Turkey before it continued to its final destination in Lebanon under a deal aimed at easing a global food crisis. read more

The ship, Razoni, departed from Ukraine's Odesa port on the Black Sea early on Monday carrying 26,527 tonnes of corn to Lebanon's Tripoli. It followed a U.N.-brokered grain and fertiliser export agreement between Moscow and Kyiv last month - a rare diplomatic breakthrough in a drawn-out war of attrition.

But Zelenskiy, speaking via an interpreter, said more time was needed to see whether other grain shipments would follow.

"Just recently, thanks to the UN in partnership with Turkey, we had a first ship with the delivery of grain, but it’s still nothing. But we hope it’s a tendency that will continue,” he told the students.

He said Ukraine had to export a minimum 10 million tonnes of grain to urgently help bring down its budget deficit which was running at $5 billion a month.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the first grain shipment but also said it was "only a first step."... Read More