The Ukraine announced a “humanitarian corridor” in the Black Sea to release cargo ships trapped in its ports since the outbreak of war. This is a new test of Russia’s de facto blockade since Moscow abandoned a deal last month to let Kyiv export grain. Shipping and insurance sources are expressing concerns about safety, and it is questionable whether many will leave. The Ukrainian navy said the routes had already been proposed by Ukraine directly to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Around 60 commercial ships have been stuck in the Ukrainian ports since Russia’s invasion, their fates unresolved by the deal that allowed grain exports to resume in July last year. Many of the ships’ crews have been evacuated, leaving locally hired Ukrainian staff to help look after the vessels. Russia’s lack of ships and Western grain traders’ shrinking appetite for business with Moscow are adding to rising costs of moving Russian wheat.