KYIV, UKRAINE — Ukraine has exported nearly 4 million tonnes via its “humanitarian corridor” since shipments started in August, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Nov. 14, Reuters reported.

Ukraine launched the corridor for ships headed to African and Asian markets after Russia left the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative that had allowed for grain shipments following Russia’s February 2022 invasion.

The route runs along Ukraine’s southwest Black Sea coast in Romanian waters and toward Turkey.

“The grain corridor is working,” Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messaging app. “We are now overcoming the four million tonnes mark and maintaining positive dynamics.”

Last week a Russian missile hit a civilian vessel in an Odesa region port. The route continued to operate, but freight prices increased.

“This (attack) is of course bad, it affects the cost of freight and the willingness of traders to buy grain from us and work with Ukraine,” Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky told national television on Nov. 13. “We understand that Odesa region ports need to be protected, everyone is doing it and the situation is improving every week, and we will still export.”

Ukraine’s government expects a harvest of 79 million tonnes of grain and oilseeds in 2023, with an exportable surplus of about 50 million tonnes. The country has been among the world's top suppliers of wheat, corn, barley and sunflower oil in recent years.