Three cargo ships with almost 70,000 tons of food left Ukrainian ports on Saturday.

They traveled to Egypt, Italy and France.

This was reported by "Interfax", citing the Joint Coordination Center (JCC).

The bulk carrier Lady Ayana is carrying 14,068 tons of corn and 11,939 tons of soybeans to Egypt.

The ship AK Halima will deliver 11,755 tons of corn and 11,209 tons of wheat to Italy, the ship Eagle Trader will transport 20,200 tons of sunflower meal to France.

"The total tonnage of grain and other agricultural products exported from three Ukrainian ports is 22,232,894 tons. The total number of coordinated ship movements is 1,521," the report said.

The SCC notes that "103 applications for participation in the initiative have been submitted".

We recall that Ukraine announced earlier this week that it will ask Turkey and the UN to start negotiations to extend for at least another year the Black Sea grain export deal, including the ports of the city of Nikolaev.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by the UN and Turkey last July, allowed grain exports from three Ukrainian ports.

The agreement was extended in November and will expire on March 18 unless a new extension is agreed.

Ukraine exports about 3 million tons of agricultural products a month under the grain deal, but could increase that to 8 million tons if Nikolaev is included in the deal.

Despite the 2022 grain harvest falling to around 54 million tonnes from a record 86 million in 2021, at least 30 million tonnes of grain are still in silos and subject to export, according to the agriculture ministry.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian grain export initiative has been operating for seven months.

During this time, 43 countries have already received more than 22 million tons of food through our seaborne exports.

This is a significant Ukrainian contribution to global food security and stabilization of the world food market

If it were not for this initiative of ours, there would unfortunately be political and social chaos in some countries in Africa and Asia, and the crisis that various nations experienced last year would be much more acute.

But if this initiative of ours had worked at full capacity, if Russia had not tried to slow it down, we would have been able to export more food.

That is, there will be significantly more guarantees of food security in the world, he stated.