Russian rockets hit the Ukrainian port city of Odesa in a “horrendous” attack, hours after a major food supply deal hit a grain facility, Kiev said.
A Ukrainian military spokesman said Kalibr cruise missiles hit a grain processing plant this morning, but added that they did not “cause significant damage”.
They said that exports will continue as planned. Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov wrote on Facebook: “We continue with technical preparations to start exports of agricultural products from our ports.”
The footage showed Ukrainian air defense technology intercepting two rockets in the air, but was unable to stop them from hitting two more targets in the port city.
The brutal airstrikes poured cold water A ‘landmark’ agreement was signed yesterday in Istanbul to unlock crucial grain exports stuck in three ports including Odesa.
Footage captured by residents of Odesa today showed the port in flames after being hit by Russian Kalibr missiles. Two rockets are believed to have hit targets in the Black Sea export capital
Bridget Brink, the US ambassador to Kiev, called the attack “horrific”. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has “unequivocally” condemned the strikes, his spokesman said.
Farhan Haq added: “These products are absolutely necessary to tackle the global food crisis and alleviate the suffering of millions of people in need around the world.
“The full implementation of the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Turkey is essential.”
There were no casualties in the attack and no missiles were fired at the grain storage, Kyiv said.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry today asked the UN and Turkey to enforce the deal after the strikes, which will come into force in the coming weeks.
It is not yet clear whether this will happen.
The Russian Defense Ministry’s statement on Saturday outlining the progress of the war made no mention of the Odesa strike.
The ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment from global media.
Ms Brink wrote on Twitter: “Less than 24 hours after Russia signed a deal to allow agricultural export shipments, the port city of Odesa has been hit.
“The Kremlin continues to weaponize food. Russia must be held accountable.”
The attack came minutes after Russian bombs fell on a university in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city.
At least one person was injured at the National University of Economics earlier today.
Army officials inspect the damage at Kharkiv National University of Economics today
The Russian bomb attack came minutes after targets were hit in the port city of Odesa
At least one person was injured in the attack on Ukraine’s second largest city near the border
Putin’s grain embargo, in effect since the invasion began on February 24, has trapped tens of millions of tons of food destined for the Middle East and Africa.
Yesterday’s agreement sought to prevent starvation among ten million people in the poorest nations by allowing access to world markets for wheat, sunflower oil and fertilizers, including for humanitarian needs, partly at lower prices.
Under the plan, Ukrainian officials would guide the ships through safe channels through the mine waters to three ports where they would be loaded with grain.
Ukrainian officials were universally shocked by the apparent immediate violation of the agreement
Moscow has denied responsibility for the food supply crisis, blaming sanctions for slowing food and fertilizer exports and mining Ukraine’s approaches to its Black Sea ports.
Senior UN officials, briefing reporters on Friday, said the deal would be fully operational within weeks and would restore grain shipments from the three reopened ports to pre-war levels of 5 million tonnes a month.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said that the agreement is “a global agreement”, but he has admitted that “it has not come easily… it has been a long road”.
A truck is pictured waiting at a grain terminal in Odesa during harvest early this morning
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, whose country provided neutral ground for the signing of the treaty, was quick to praise his role in orchestrating the deal.
“We are proud to be instrumental in an initiative that will play a major role in solving the global food crisis, which has been on the agenda for a long time,” he said.
He continued boldly: “The war will end at the negotiating table. This is a turning point.”
The blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia’s Black Sea fleet has worsened global supply chain disruptions and, along with Western sanctions on Moscow, fueled high inflation in food and energy prices since Russian forces entered Ukraine on February 24.
Cereal fields burned on the outskirts of Kurakhove near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on Thursday
Guterres said the agreement paves the way for large volumes of commercial food exports from three important Ukrainian ports – Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny – and explained that the UN will create a coordination center to monitor the implementation of the agreement.
Britain’s foreign secretary and prime minister-designate Liz Truss congratulated Turkey on brokering the UN deal, but insisted Russia has a responsibility to keep its promises.
“Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine has put some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at risk of having nothing to eat,” Truss said in a statement.
“Now this deal must be implemented, and we will wait for Russia’s actions to match its words.”
Turkish President Erdogan, right, and UN Secretary-General Guterres, left, sit as Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu shakes hands with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar at the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul.
The Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres (left) and the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) have arrived at the signing ceremony of the initiative on the safe transportation of grains and food from Ukrainian ports, in Istanbul.
The US has also welcomed the deal and said it is looking to hold Russia accountable for implementing it.
Mr Guterres said overseeing the deal was one of the most important feats of his career, but admitted nothing could be done to punish Russia if it reneges on the deal’s terms.
The UN chief said that breaking the agreement would be a “totally unacceptable scandal” and that the entire international community would react very strongly.
Oleksandr Kubrakov, Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, participated in the signing ceremony in Istanbul
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who personally signed the agreement, said that Moscow will not “take advantage” of the dismantling and opening of Ukrainian ports.
“Russia has assumed the obligations clearly defined in this document,” Shoigu said on Rossiya-24 state television after the signing ceremony in Istanbul.
“We will not take advantage of the fact that the ports will be cleared and opened.
“We have made that commitment.”
Turkey, a NATO member with good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, controls the strait to the Black Sea and has acted as a grain broker.
Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich, who has also served as negotiator and ambassador, took part in yesterday’s signing.
Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of the Maritimes (ICS), told reporters that it remains to be seen how exports will take off, given that Ukraine’s shores are littered with mines.
“This is a long overdue step forward for the millions of people who rely on the safe passage of grain for their survival. But although it is an important step, there is a lot of work to be done,” he said.
“Ensuring the safety of the crew will be crucial if we are to move this deal forward quickly. Questions remain as to how the ships will navigate the heavily mined waters, and how we can man the ships in the region to meet the suggested deadline.”
Russian missiles hit the GRAIN facility in Odesa, hours after a “landmark” agreement to protect food supplies was passed
Source link Russian missiles hit the GRAIN facility in Odesa, hours after a “landmark” agreement to protect food supplies was passed