ANKARA: The first shipment of Ukrainian grain has left the port of Odessa, the Turkish defense ministry said.

“The ship Razoni has left the port of Odessa bound for Tripoli in Lebanon. It is expected in Istanbul on August 2. It will then continue its journey after it has been inspected in Istanbul,” the ministry said.

Ukraine said the vessel was carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn. Built in 1996 and measuring 186 meters (610 feet) in length and 25 meters in width, Razoni has a capacity of 30,000 tons.

Other convoys would follow, respecting the maritime corridor and the agreed formalities in line with the agreement reached with Russia on July 22, the ministry earlier said.

The Kremlin on Monday welcomed the departure of the first shipment of grain from Ukraine’s southern port of Odessa under a plan to resume grain exports that were halted following the start of Moscow’s military campaign.

“As for the departure of the first ship, this is very positive. A good opportunity to test the effectiveness of the mechanisms that were agreed during talks in Istanbul,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

On July 22, Ukraine and Russia signed a landmark deal with Turkey and the United Nations aimed at relieving a global food crisis caused by blocked Black Sea grain deliveries.

Turkey formally opened a special joint coordination center to oversee the exports in Istanbul last Wednesday, which is being staffed by civilian and military officials from the two warring parties and delegates from Turkey and the UN.

Their primary assignment involves monitoring the safe passage of Ukrainian grain ships along established routes and overseeing their inspection for banned weapons on the way into and out of the Black Sea.

The blockage of deliveries from two of the world’s biggest grain exporters has contributed to a spike in prices that has made food imports prohibitively expensive for some of the world’s poorest countries.

UN estimates say nearly 50 million people began to face “acute hunger” around the world as a direct consequence of the war.

Wheat prices fell sharply hours after the grain deal was signed.