A deal to resume Ukraine’s grain exports now hangs in the balance.
Reason: Missile attack on Odessa port hours after signing deal with Russia.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, blamed the Kremlin this Saturday “Barbarism” This, he said, explains how the Russian government cannot be trusted to stick to the deal.
Moscow confirmed it had carried out the attack, but said it targeted a naval ship.
Ukrainian military officials acknowledged that a plane had been hit, but did not say whether it was a military or civilian plane.
Zelensky promised to do everything to obtain air defense systems capable of shooting down such missiles in the future.
Kiev added Preparations are underway to resume grain exports Notwithstanding the apparent breach of contract.
Ukraine is a major grain exporter, but because of the war, approx 20 million tons are stuck in its ports They cannot leave because of the Russian forces.
This has led to food shortages and rising prices in Africa, which normally relies on Ukraine and Russia for wheat.
Under Friday’s agreement, Russia pledged not to target ports while grain shipments are in transit.
But within hours of the signing of the deal, two Kalibr missiles struck the port of Odessa, the Southern Command of Ukraine’s military said. Two more missiles were shot down by air defense systems.
The command center said that the attack did not cause any major damage to the port.
The incident was strongly condemned. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken blamed Russia Exacerbating the global food crisis He said the attack cast “grave doubt” on the credibility of Russia’s commitment to the treaty.
“Russia must stop its aggression and fully implement the grain deal it agreed to,” he said on Saturday.
The Turkish government, which negotiated the deal, and Russian officials have denied responsibility.
“In our communication with Russia, they told us that they have nothing to do with this attack and that they are investigating this issue very closely and in detail,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Agar said.
On Friday, Kiev and Moscow officials signed an agreement to allow the export of millions of tons of grain stuck in Ukraine.
It was hailed as a deal “Light of Hope” After months of fighting, the UN
It will last 120 days and will establish a coordination and monitoring center in Istanbul with UN, Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian officials. Can be renewed if both parties agree.
EU foreign affairs chief Joseph Borrell over the attack on Odessa Russia’s “Complete Ignorance” of International Law.
“The attack on an important grain export destination a day after the signing of the Istanbul Accords is particularly reprehensible,” he tweeted, adding that the EU “strongly condemns” the attack.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack and called for full implementation of the grain deal.
Paul Adams, the BBC’s correspondent in Kiev, says he is tempted to see the attack on Odessa as an attempt to destroy the grain trade.
But this appears to contradict Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s assertion that Russia’s responsibilities are clearly established, he adds.
In the latest fighting on the ground, British defense officials said Russian troops in the Kherson region were at risk of Ukrainian forces cutting off their supply lines.
Ukrainian forces used New missile systems Long-range missiles were provided by the United States to target the Antonovsky Bridge in Kherson.
If the bridge is destroyed, Russian supply lines will be severely compromised.
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