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Russian missiles hit Odessa a day after grain export deal was struck




CNN

Russian missile strikes hit the port of Odessa in southern Ukraine just a day after Ukraine and Russia agreed to a deal that would see vital grain exports from the region resume .

Serhii Bratchuk, spokesman for Odessa’s military administration, said two missiles hit port infrastructure and two were shot down by Ukrainian air defense.

At least six explosions were heard in Odessa, according to Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko.

It comes a day after Ukrainian and Russian ministers signed an agreement – ​​brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul – to allow grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports aimed at easing the global food crisis triggered by the war.

“That’s all you need to know about the deals with Russia,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweeted. EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Josep Borrell said the bloc “strongly condemns” the attack.

“Hitting a crucial grain export target one day after the signing of the Istanbul Accords is particularly reprehensible and again demonstrates Russia’s utter disregard for international law and commitments,” Borrell wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

“Russia accepted a deal on grain export, but immediately after that attacked it – showing that it wants to continue threatening global food security,” Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko said in an interview on Saturday. at CNN.

“There will be new campaigns where [Putin] will definitely attack Odessa and the world’s only response to that is to give Ukraine weapons – well, give Ukraine long-range missiles, fighters. And this is the only response to this aggression by Putin and to restore international order,” he said.

The strikes hit a pumping station at the port, said Serhii Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odessa regional military administration, on Saturday.

“Today 4 rockets hit Odessa. Thank God our air defense force units destroyed 2 incoming missiles. Another two missiles flew towards the port, towards the infrastructure,” Bratchuk said in an interview with the Ukrainian media “This is a pumping station located on the territory of the port of Odessa.”

Bratchuk said there were no casualties and the grain stored there was undamaged. He also said the strikes were launched from a warship.

Friday’s deal promised to unblock Black Sea ports to allow the safe passage of grains and oilseeds – some of Ukraine’s most important exports.

Russia has so far blocked sea access to these ports, which means that millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain have not been exported to the many countries that depend on it.

“Today there is a lighthouse on the Black Sea. A glimmer of hope – a glimmer of possibility – a glimmer of relief – in a world that needs it more than ever,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the signing ceremony on Friday. , which was attended by Ukrainian and Russian ministers.

But Saturday’s attack has sparked anger and concerns over the future of that deal.

“That’s all you need to know about the ‘deals’ with the Russians. Explosions in the seaport of #Odessa. A day after the signing of the agreement with #Turkey and the #UN on the re-export of #grains from #Ukraine under which #Russia undertook not to bombard the port”, tweeted the Ukrainian MP Solomiia Bobrovska.

Brachuk advised residents to stay in shelters as air alerts continue.

“It was a beacon of hope,” Samantha Power, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, said of the grain deal on Saturday.

“Now we have just learned that Russian forces have bombed the port infrastructure in Odessa, the very port infrastructure that is needed to transport this grain across the Black Sea,” Power said.

“It’s grotesque and just the latest indication of Vladimir Putin’s cold indifference to the cost of the war in Ukraine – an artificial war he created for no reason; the cost in Ukraine for human life there; and the ripple effects all over the world,” she said.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that Russia had claimed it had “nothing to do” with the strikes.

“The Russians told us in certain terms that they had nothing to do with this attack. They are monitoring the situation very closely and in detail,” Akar said in a video statement.

“It really worried us that such an event happened after we signed the agreement on grain shipments. We are also disturbed. But we continue to assume our responsibilities regarding this agreement and we have also expressed in our meetings that we are in favor of the parties continuing their cooperation here calmly and patiently,” said Akar, who represented Turkey at the signing. of the grain agreement in Istanbul. Friday.

Akar also said that Turkey had received information about the strikes from Ukraine and “then we spoke on the phone with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, with whom we were already in contact”.

“They said that one of the missile attacks hit one of the silos there, and the other fell in an area near the silo, but the important thing is that there is no problem with the loading capacity and the capacity of the docks, and that the activities there can continue, ”he said.

Cnn

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