The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyassured that Russia’s missile attack on the port of Odessa this Saturday simply shows that Moscow is looking for ways to renege on the grain export deal signed just a day earlier with the United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine.
“This proves only one thing: no matter what Russia says and promises, it will find ways to renege on it.”, Zelensky lamented in a video posted on Telegram after the condemnations of the last hours of the European Union and the United States, waiting for Russia to rule on the incident.
Two cruise missiles hit the port infrastructure, thus overshadowing the historic agreement that both countries signed separately on Friday with Turkey and the UN, seeking to alleviate the world food crisis. “The enemy attacked the Odessa seaport with Kalibr cruise missiles. Two of the shells were shot down by air defense forces. Two impacted the port infrastructure,” said Sergii Brachuk, spokesman for the Odessa regional administration.
The attack jeopardizes an agreement that UN and Turkish officials, less than 24 hours earlier, had hailed as a breakthrough after months of negotiations.. Friday’s deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, would help lift a blockade that has exposed countries around the world to the threat of rising hunger, especially in Africa and the Middle East.
The deal hinges in part on Russian promises not to attack Odessa and two other ports implicated in the shipments. It included security guarantees for both Ukraine and Russia, which agreed not to “undertake any attacks against merchant ships and other civilian ships and port facilities” linked to the initiative.
Ukrainian officials accused the Kremlin of jeopardizing the deal, which guarantees the safe passage of merchant ships from the three ports, to resume the flow of grain cut off by a Russian naval blockade.
A Ukrainian military spokesman said on Saturday that Russian missiles hit grain processing facilities in Odessa, a day after Ukraine and Russia sealed a deal to unblock exports from the port. “The port of Odessa was specifically attacked when grain shipments were being processed. Two missiles hit the infrastructure of the port, where of course there is grain. They attacked a territory where the grain is located,” military spokesman Yuriy Ignat told AFP.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey said the attack showed the deal with Russia was not worth “even the signed paper”, while a Ukrainian Foreign Ministry official called it “spit in the face” of the UN chief. and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
By firing missiles at the port, andRussian President Vladimir Putin “spit in the face of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and the Turkish President, Recep (Tayyip) Erdogan, who have made enormous efforts to reach this agreement,” the Ministry spokesman said. Of Foreign Affairs, Oleg Nikolenko.
The Ukrainian official also assured that Russia must assume “all responsibility” if the agreement fails and “the world food crisis” deepens.
The reactions were swift. Guterres he “unequivocally” condemned the attack and stressed that “full implementation (of the agreement) by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Turkey is imperative.”
Along the same lines, the head of diplomacy of the European Union, Joseph Borrell, He called the attack “reprehensible.” “Hitting a crucial grain export target a day after the signing of the Istanbul agreements is particularly reprehensible and again demonstrates Russia’s utter disregard for international law and commitments,” Borrell wrote on Twitter.
The US also repudiated Moscow’s actions. “It’s a scandal. Russia attacks the port city of Odessa less than 24 hours after signing an agreement to allow agricultural export shipments. The Kremlin continues to use food as a weapon. Russia must be held accountable”, condemned the ambassador in kyiv, Bridget Brink.
The agreement sealed in Istanbul is the first major agreement between the parties to the conflict since the Russian invasion began on February 24 and was eagerly awaited to help alleviate the hunger that, according to the UN, an additional 47 million people face due to war.
Up to 20 million tons of wheat and other grains are blocked in Ukrainian ports, especially Odessa, by Russian warships and mines laid by kyiv to prevent an amphibious attack.
Zelensky estimates the value of Ukraine’s grain stocks at around $10 billion.