The first shipment of Russian-produced fertiliser left the Netherlands towards Malawi under a previously Ankara-brokered United Nations export deal, a spokesperson for the UN secretary-general has said in a statement.
The shipment of 20,000 metric tons of fertiliser is the first in a series of exports destined for Africa in the coming months, the spokesperson said on Tuesday, adding that the load will be sent to Malawi via Mozambique.
The UN-brokered deal, first set in July and renewed earlier this month, allows grain exports from specific Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, as well as fertiliser exports from Russian producers despite Moscow's military action in Ukraine.
Russia suspended its participation in the agreement for four days in October but later rejoined.
Allowing donated exports of 260,000 metric tonnes of Russian fertiliser products stored in Europe to be exported "will serve to alleviate humanitarian needs and prevent catastrophic crop loss in Africa, where it is currently planting season," a spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
"The United Nations is continuing intense diplomatic efforts with all parties to ensure the unimpeded exports of critical food and fertilisers from Ukraine and the Russian Federation, exempt from sanction regimes to the world markets," the spokesperson added.