Odesa: Russian missiles hits Black Sea port hours after grain deal

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A fire caused by a previous strike (AFP via Getty Images)
A fire caused by a previous strike (AFP via Getty Images)

Two missiles struck the port city of Odesa just one day after Ukraine and Russia signed a deal to resume grain exports through the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson said the attack called into question promises made by Russia to the United Nations and Turkey, which brokered the deal.

In a statement, Ukraine’s foreign ministry called on the United Nations and Turkey to ensure that Russia fulfills its commitments under the agreement for a safe corridor for grain exports from its Black Sea ports.

“The enemy attacked the Odesa sea trade port with Kalibr cruise missiles; 2 missiles were shot down by air defense forces; two hit the infrastructure of the port," Ukrainian military officials wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment about the attack.

US Ambassador to Kyiv Bridget Brink called the strike "outrageous".

"Russia strikes the port city of Odesa less than 24 hours after signing an agreement to allow shipments of agricultural exports. The Kremlin continues to weaponize food. Russia must be held to account," she said on Twitter.

Russia and Ukraine signed a landmark deal in Istanbul on Friday to reopen Black Sea ports to export millions of tons of grain that has been stuck in silos following the invasion.

More than 25 million tons of wheat had been sitting in silos in Ukrainian ports like Odesa, unable to be transported due to Russian blockades.

The Black Sea has also been heavily mined by both Ukraine and Russia.

But under the new deal, a safe passage will be established, with signed assurances that Kremlin forces will not attack ships sailing through it.

The UN had warned the impasse was already causing a worldwide shortage of food, particularly in Third World countries.

Welcoming the deal, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres - at the signing in Istanbul on Friday - said the agreement was a “beacon of hope”. But Mr Guterres added that the deal “did not come easy... it has been a long road”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “We are proud to be instrumental in an initiative that will play a major role in solving the global food crisis.”

Under the agreement, Turkey will inspect ships to ensure they are not carrying weapons. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the move.

While the grain deal was seen as good news, it was claimed on Friday that Russia was “looting” millions of pounds worth of steel bound for Europe and UK.

In total, Russian soldiers have pilfered £500million of steel from Ukrainian plants and ports, some of it sold on in Russia, according to Yuriy Ryzhenkov, the boss of steel firm Metinvest.

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