2nd vessel reaches Romanian waters despite Russia targeting Ukrainian ports, Black Sea

August 28, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian media reported Sunday that a second cargo vessel had reached Romanian waters despite Russia’s efforts to target Ukrainian shipments.

According to a social media post by Zelensky, the ship was loaded with steel for African consumers and had been blocked from navigating the Black Sea since Russia undertook its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

“I thank everyone who made this possible, our port workers, our warriors and everyone who defends freedom,” Zelensky wrote of the ship’s reaching Romanian waters.

Russian air strikes have been targeting Ukrainian ports  since mid-July when the Kremlin dissolved the 2022 United Nations-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative that allowed Ukraine to export grain and other food supplies to countries struggling with food insecurity in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Earlier this month, Ukraine announced a “humanitarian corridor” in the Black Sea to allow the release of such trapped cargo ships, though Russia has been known to defy declared safe passages throughout the 18-month-long war, and Moscow has said it will not respect the Black Sea corridor. 

On August 16, the Hong-Kong flagged “Joseph Schulte,” co-owned by a German company and an unnamed Chinese bank, which had also been stuck in a Ukrainian port since February 2022, departed from Odesa and traversed the Black Sea. It arrived in the waters of NATO member nation Romania a day later.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey which brokered the Black Sea Grain Initiative, is set to visit Russia next month to speak with Putin about reviving the agreement.

PHOTO: Open Sources

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