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Russian missile strikes on Odesa elevate doubts over Ukraine grain deal – POLITICO

KYIV, Ukraine — Russia fired a number of missiles on the port of Odesa on Saturday, Ukrainian authorities mentioned, elevating the query of whether or not Moscow would abide by a vital deal struck Friday to unblock Ukraine’s seaports to permit for the transport of thousands and thousands of tons of grain wanted to feed international locations in Africa and the Center East. 

“The enemy attacked the Odesa maritime commerce port with winged ‘Kalibr’ cruise missiles,” the Ukrainian navy’s Southern Operation Command reported on Fb. “2 rockets have been shot down by air protection forces. 2 hit the port infrastructure services.”

As pictures and movies of black smoke rising from the port circulated on social media, it was not instantly clear how the assault would influence the grain export settlement. Nevertheless it raised issues over whether or not Russia would uphold its finish of the deal.

Ukrainian officers and politicians reacted with anger and mentioned it was extra of the identical from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some referred to as for Western companions to offer Ukraine with air-defense methods.

“It took lower than 24 hours for Russia to launch a missile assault on Odesa’s port, breaking its guarantees and undermining its commitments earlier than the UN and Turkey beneath the Istanbul settlement,” Ukraine Overseas Ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko tweeted. “In case of non-fulfillment, Russia will bear full duty for international meals disaster,” he mentioned. 

“Give Ukraine weapons to guard Odesa,” tweeted Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksiy Goncharenko. “Anti air defence, fighters, anti ship missiles. Russia understands solely drive.”

The Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Coverage advised Ukraine’s Suspilne information outlet that grain ready to be exported was being saved on the port on the time of the missile assault. About 20 million tons of Ukrainian grain has been caught since Russia’s invasion in February, unable to be exported as a result of battle.

“We have been anticipating the primary shipments [to be moved] tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” the ministry mentioned.

Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, mentioned the federal government in Kyiv “won’t again down from our purpose of unlocking seaports.”

“We proceed technical preparations for the launch of exports of agricultural merchandise from our ports,” Kubrakov mentioned on Fb.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy briefed a visiting delegation from the U.S. Congress on the missile strikes. “This proves just one factor: it doesn’t matter what Russia says and guarantees, it would discover methods to not implement it,” Zelenskyy advised the group. “Geopolitically, with weapons, bloodily or not, however it has a number of vectors, because it all the time acts.”

‘Notably reprehensible’

EU overseas affairs chief Josep Borrell mentioned the bloc “strongly condemns” the missile strike on Odesa’s port. “Putting a goal essential for grain export a day after the signature of Istanbul agreements is significantly reprehensible & once more demonstrates Russia’s whole disregard for worldwide regulation & commitments,” Borrell tweeted.

Zelenskyy’s chief of workers, Andriy Yermak, wrote on Twitter that “the Russians are systematically making a meals disaster doing the whole lot to make folks endure.”

“Famine terror continues. The world should act,” Yermak mentioned. “The most effective meals security ensures are twofold: efficient sanctions towards Russia and extra weapons for Ukraine.”

U.S. Ambassador to Kyiv Bridget Brink referred to as the Russian assault “outrageous.” 

“The Kremlin continues to weaponize meals,” Brink tweeted. “Russia have to be held to account.”

Whereas Moscow has issued no official touch upon the incident, Turkey’s protection chief mentioned on Saturday that Russia denied involvement, AFP reported. “The Russians advised us that they’d completely nothing to do with this assault and so they have been trying into the difficulty very carefully,” Protection Minister Hulusi Akar mentioned, in accordance with the company.

The grain export settlement is supposed to reopen Ukraine’s seaports and assure protected passage for the ships carrying Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea to import-dependent nations. Kyiv made clear on Friday that the settlement was not a political one.

Ukraine’s infrastructure minister and Russia’s protection minister signed separate paperwork with the U.N. and Turkey, vowing to carry up their ends of the accord. The deal permits for the creation of a “management middle” in Istanbul, which can coordinate and monitor the grain exports.

At a press convention in Istanbul after the accord was signed, U.N. Secretary-Common António Guterres celebrated by calling it “an settlement for the world.” 

“It is going to carry aid for creating international locations on the sting of chapter and probably the most weak folks on the sting of famine. It is going to assist stabilize international meals costs which have been already at record-levels even earlier than the battle,” he mentioned.

However Western and Ukrainian officers shortly expressed concern about whether or not Russia would stick with it.

“That’s all it’s best to learn about Russians and agreements,” Ukraine’s Goncharenko mentioned on Saturday. “[Putin] is weaponising the whole lot.”



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