Even as the Kiev authorities declared help was on the way for “Middle East, Africa and Asia,” none of the grain ships that have departed Ukrainian ports by Tuesday are headed for African countries most at risk of starvation, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, the first ship to leave under the “grain corridor” arrangement saw its cargo rejected by the buyers in Lebanon, who cited the delivery delay.
Since the arrangement went into effect on August 1, ten ships have left Ukrainian ports, carrying mainly animal feed to their destinations. One is headed to England, another to Ireland, while several are on their way to Turkey, Italy and China. None of them are bound for Yemen, Somalia, or other countries facing “catastrophic levels of hunger,” the Times reported on Tuesday.
The first ship to reach its destination was the Turkish-flagged Polarnet, which docked in Derince on Monday with 12,000 tons of corn. Celebrating its arrival, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said that it “sends a message of hope to every family in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia,” adding, “Ukraine won’t abandon you.”
Meanwhile, President Vladimir Zelensky told his counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana on Monday that Ukraine was “ready to continue being the guarantor of world food security.”
However, most of the 20 million tons of grain held up in Ukrainian ports for the past several months is animal feed and not intended for human consumption, according to experts quoted by AP.