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EU, NATO welcome start of Ukraine grain export

BRUSSELS, Aug 1 (KUNA) - Both the European Union and NATO Monday welcomed the news that the first ship carrying grain has left the Ukrainian port of Odesa earlier today.
"The European Union welcomes the departure of the first commercial ship from the port of Odesa following the signature of the Black Sea grain initiative on 22 July after months of blockade by Russia," EU lead spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, Peter Stano, told a news conference in Brussels. "This is a welcome first step towards mitigating the global food crisis," he said.
According to media reports, the Sierra Leone-flagged vessel the Razoni, carrying the grain, would dock at the port of Tripoli in Lebanon.
Asked by the Kuwait news agency, KUNA, as to why Lebanon was chosen as the first destination for the grain export, Stano said, "Lebanon is to a large extent dependent on imports of Ukrainian wheat and grain." "Lebanon is going through a multitude of crises, social, financial, economic and food crises. All these crises have been enhanced and multiplied by the effect of Russia's illegal aggression against Ukraine and the ban on Ukrainian export. So Lebanon is one of the countries most affected by the negative consequences," he added.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also welcomed the 1st shipment of Ukrainian grain from Odesa under the UN-brokered deal.
"I thank our Ally Turkiye for its pivotal role. NATO Allies strongly support the full implementation of the deal to ease the global food crisis caused by Russia's war in Ukraine," he said on his Twitter message. (end) nk.aa