Ukraine said Sunday a second civilian cargo ship leaving the port of Odesa had reached safe waters, despite warnings from Russia that such vessels may be considered military targets.
Kyiv announced a new maritime corridor earlier this month after Russia left the Black Sea grain deal, which aimed to ensure safe navigation for civilian grain shipments from Ukrainian ports.
“The second vessel has reached Romanian waters after successfully navigating through our temporary Black Sea corridor,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said on social media.
He added that the ship – a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier called PRIMUS – was carrying steel destined for the African market.
“I thank everyone who made this possible, our port workers, our warriors and everyone who defends freedom,” he said.
The announcement came as Russia said it scrambled a fighter plane to escort a US air force reconnaissance drone away from its borders over the Black Sea.
Both Moscow and Kyiv have escalated military activity in the area since the collapse of the UN-brokered deal.
Russia has pounded Ukraine’s port infrastructure on the sea and on the Danube river, while Kyiv has attacked Russian ships in its waters and the Moscow-annexed Crimean peninsula.
The first cargo ship to use Ukraine’s new Black Sea shipping lanes left Odesa last week, Kyiv said.