Ukraine accused Russia of firing missiles at its key grain exporting port of Odesa on Saturday, a day after Moscow signed a deal permitting Kyiv to renew grain exports in a bid to alleviate the rising world meals disaster.
Two Kalibr cruise missiles hit Odesa’s port and two others had been shot down by Ukrainian air defences, in keeping with Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for Ukraine’s southern army command.
Movies posted on social media confirmed a big plume of smoke billowing from the port. Oleksiy Honcharenko, a Ukrainian member of parliament, wrote on messaging app Telegram that at the very least six explosions had been heard and an unspecified variety of folks had been wounded.
On Friday Russia’s defence minister signed a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey agreeing to let Kyiv export hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grain from its Black Sea ports.
Russia’s navy has blockaded Ukraine’s industrial sea routes, launched missile strikes on its ports and grain storage infrastructure and attacked civilian grain transport ships since president Vladimir Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Ukraine mentioned Saturday’s strikes violated Russia’s promise to not assault its grain export infrastructure and known as the viability of Friday’s deal into query.
Oleg Nikolenko, Ukraine’s overseas ministry spokesman, mentioned Russia would “bear full duty for the deepening of the worldwide meals disaster” if it didn’t uphold its guarantees to not assault the port. He accused Putin of “spit[ting] within the face” of UN secretary-general António Guterres and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who brokered the talks.
“Yesterday grain export by sea was agreed, and at the moment the Russians are hitting Odesa port. That’s the Russian diplomatic dichotomy,” Andriy Yermak, head of president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s administration, wrote on Twitter.
The deal, which Guterres hailed as a “beacon of hope”, was the primary main settlement struck between the 2 sides within the five-month battle.
The blockade has choked off an important financial lifeline for Ukraine and left an estimated 22mn tonnes of wheat, corn and different grains stranded in silos, with devastating results on world meals costs and poverty ranges.
As many as 47mn folks, significantly in sub-Saharan Africa, are susceptible to acute starvation due to the battle, in keeping with the World Meals Programme.
Guterres’ workplace issued a press release saying he “unequivocally condemns” the strikes, with out straight blaming Russia.
“Yesterday, all events made clear commitments on the worldwide stage to make sure the secure motion of Ukrainian grain and associated merchandise to world markets,” the assertion mentioned.
“These merchandise are desperately wanted to deal with the worldwide meals disaster and ease the struggling of hundreds of thousands of individuals in want across the globe. Full implementation by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Turkey is crucial.”
Billionaire oligarch Roman Abramovich, who offered Chelsea Soccer Membership in Could after the UK and EU sanctioned him, attended the signing ceremony and performed a key function within the deal, in keeping with three folks aware of the matter.
Abramovich helped facilitate peace talks between Russia and Ukraine with Putin’s blessing earlier than they collapsed in April.
He visited Kyiv a number of occasions, the place he met Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and has since performed a task brokering prisoner exchanges and opening evacuation routes for civilians, in keeping with folks aware of the matter.
“He was key to all of it. He’s one of many solely folks near Putin to whom the Ukrainians speak,” one of many folks mentioned. A Ukrainian official mentioned Abramovich’s function had turn out to be extra outstanding for the reason that peace talks stalled within the spring.
“Someway he’s a part of the circle coping with delicate points between Ukraine and Russia,” the official mentioned. “He’s on the checklist of trusted individuals who might be in any talks.”
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, denied that Abramovich had performed an important function within the talks.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, officers within the port metropolis of Mykolayiv reported being hit by six Russian projectiles on Saturday. None of them hit port infrastructure and its amenities aren’t a part of the settlement that was brokered in Turkey.
The Kremlin, Turkey’s overseas ministry, and a spokesperson for Abramovich didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.