Grain export / Credit: AFP

The first UN ship to leave Ukraine since the Russian invasion has set sail for the drought-hit Horn of Africa.

The MV Brave Commander departed from the Black Sea port of Pivdennyi laden with 23,000 tonnes of wheat intended for Ethiopia.

The UN’s World Food Programme, which bought more than half its wheat from Ukraine before the war, says 345 million people in 82 countries are now facing acute food insecurity and need urgent humanitarian support.

More than a dozen ships carrying grain have left Ukraine since a UN-brokered deal to allow safe passage of ships was signed on 22 July.

The cargo aboard the Brave Commander was funded by donations from the WFP, the US Agency for International Development and several private donors.