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Second vessel leaves Odesa through temporary Black Sea corridor: Minister

KYIV (Reuters) - A vessel carrying steel products to Africa has left Ukraine's Odesa port through a temporary Black Sea corridor, the second ship to do so since Russia withdrew last month from a U.N.-brokered deal that allowed for grain to be safely exported, a senior Ukrainian government official said on Sunday.

Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the Liberian-flagged ship PRIMUS had begun sailing through a temporary corridor set up for civilian vessels, confirming a report on Saturday by a Ukrainian lawmaker.

"The 2nd vessel blocked due to the war has left the port of Odesa and is now sailing through a temporary corridor," Kubrakov posted on the social media platform X, formerly called Twitter.

Kubrakov said the ship had been at the port since Feb. 20, 2022, just before Russia's invasion, and was carrying steel products to Africa.

Odesa's three seaports shipped tens of millions of tons of grain under a year-long U.N.-brokered deal.

Russia threatened to treat all vessels as potential military targets after pulling out of the deal last month.

In response, Ukraine announced a "humanitarian corridor" hugging the western Black Sea coast near Romania and Bulgaria.

A Hong Kong-flagged container ship stuck in Odesa port since the invasion travelled the route earlier this month without being fired upon.

(Reporting by Dan Peleschuk; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Frances Kerry)