A container ship laden with grain that departed from Ukraine's southern port of Odesa on Wednesday has transited through the Bosporus and arrived in the sea of Marmara near Turkey, its final destination.
The Hong Kong-flagged Joseph Schulte, carrying 30,000 metric tons of cargo including food products, is the first vessel to use a temporary Black Sea shipping corridor established following the breakdown of a UN-brokered grain deal last month, Kyiv officials said.
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky on Thursday hailed the "functioning of the 'grain corridor,'" as the ship sailed through the Black Sea along Romanian and Bulgarian territorial waters on its passage to Turkey.
"Off we go with the first one," Zelensky wrote on Telegram. "We are preparing the next steps."
Some context: Russia pulled out of a UN and Turkish brokered deal in July that allowed Ukraine to move its grain via the Black Sea and warned that any ships headed to Ukraine would be treated as potentially carrying weapons.
Last week, the Ukrainian navy issued an order declaring "temporary corridors" for merchant ships sailing to and from Ukrainian ports. However, it admitted that the military threat and mine danger from Russia remained along all routes.
On Sunday, a Russian warship fired warning shots and boarded a Turkish-owned cargo ship it claimed was headed to Ukraine, in what Kyiv said was "an act of piracy."