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First cargo ship to challenge Russian blockade reaches Turkey from Ukraine

Joseph Schulte became the first civilian vessel to safely travel from Ukraine to Turkey after Russia’s withdrawal from a deal that had granted safe passage to commercial and civilian ships amid escalating tensions in the Black Sea.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

ANKARA — The first cargo ship to leave a Ukrainian port under Russian threat reached Turkish waters safely on Thursday.

According to the Vessel Finder website, which tracks marine traffic, Hong Kong-flagged Joseph Schulte reached Turkish waters safely Thursday evening local time. It departed from Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa, where Russian attacks have increased since Moscow refused to extend the Black Sea grain deal that had guaranteed safe travel for civilian vessels to and from Ukrainian ports.

Kyiv announced the ship's departure from the port on Wednesday. Ukraine’s Development and Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the vessel had been trapped in Odessa for over a year and that it was carrying more than 30,000 tons of cargo.

The vessel “is proceeding through [a] corridor established for civilian vessels to/from the Black Sea ports of Ukraine,” he wrote on Twitter.

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