Russian missiles targeted the port of Odessa on the Black Sea, a day after Kyiv and Moscow signed a deal to allow Ukrainian grain exports halted by the war to resume.
Russian strikes targeted the port of Odessa this Saturday, as Ukraine accused Vladimir Putin of “spitting in the face” of the UN and Turkey and compromising the application of an agreement signed the day before to resume grain shipments blocked by the war.
Odessa is the largest city and the most important port on the entire Black Sea coast, which is crucial for the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports in the face of the threat of world famine.
By firing cruise missiles at the port of Odessa, the Russian president “spat in the face of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who made enormous efforts to reach this agreement,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko.
Ukraine immediately warned that Russia would take “full responsibility” if the grain export deal fails.
Russian attacks resume…
Sergei Prachuk, a spokesman for the administration of the Odesa region, said two cruise missiles were shot down by anti-aircraft defenses.
After a lull in fighting that focused on the Donbass in the east, central Ukraine was not spared by this Saturday’s resumption of Russian attacks that killed three people.
Thirteen Russian sea-launched cruise missiles fell near the city of Grobyvnitsky in the central Kirovgrad region, its governor, Andrei Rykovich, announced. He said railway infrastructure and a military airfield near the town of Kropyvnytskyi were targeted.
“Nine Ukrainian soldiers were injured and one soldier was killed,” he said.
… the day after the grain deal
The strikes come a day after a deal on grain that the two belligerents launched in two identical but separate texts at the request of Ukrainians who refused to sign it with the Russians.
The African Union on Saturday “welcomed” the deal, hailing it as a “welcome development” for a continent facing the risk of famine. The agreement should make it possible to export 20 to 25 million tons of grain that has been banned in Ukraine.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – especially two countries that supply 30% of world wheat exports – has led to a spike in grain and oil prices, hitting the African continent, which depends on these countries for its supplies, hard.
The rise in prices has worsened the situation in countries already facing a food crisis, especially in the Horn of Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti) which is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years. On Friday, wheat prices fell sharply in Chicago and on Euronext, returning to their pre-war trend in Ukraine in reaction to the deal.
The signing of this tough negotiation text under the auspices of the United Nations and Ankara took place in Istanbul especially in the presence of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and President Erdogan.
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