Russia was accused of "weaponising" food with its attack on Odessa. (Photo: Contributor via Getty Images)
Russia has struck the Ukrainian port of Odessa just a day after the two countries signed a landmark deal to allow grain exports out of the war-torn country.
Two Russian cruise missiles hit the port’s infrastructure on Saturday, while Ukraine’s air defences brought down two others missiles.
Odessa’s regional governor, Maksym Marchenko, said an unspecified number of people were injured in the attack.
Russia has admitted responsibility for the strike, saying the missiles “destroyed a military infrastructure target” at the port.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Moscow’s actions and said “the invaders can no longer deceive anyone”.
And Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said: “It took less than 24 hours for Russia to launch a missile attack on Odesa’s port, breaking its promises and undermining its commitments before the UN and Turkey under the Istanbul agreement.
“In case of non-fulfilment, Russia will bear full responsibility for a global food crisis.”
The attack was also condemned in the UK, with foreign secretary Liz Truss branding it “absolutely appalling”.
“It is absolutely appalling that only a day after striking this deal, Vladimir Putin has launched a completely unwarranted attack on Odessa,” she said.
“It shows that not a word he says can be trusted.”
The strike came just hours after Moscow and Kyiv signed a deal to allow grain exports to continue through the Black Sea in a move the UN described as a “beacon of hope” for ending the global food crisis.
The war in Ukraine — which supplies much of the world with products such as wheat and corn — has halted Ukrainian sea shipments and caused grain prices to rise dramatically.
Under the deal signed on Friday, a path opened for significant volumes of commercial food to leave the ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.
A key element of the deal was the agreement by both Russia and Ukraine that there would be no attacks on any of the vessels.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the attack cast serious doubt on Russia’s commitment to the deal and warned of a deepening of the global food crisis.
“Russia must stop its aggression and fully implement the grain deal to which it has agreed,” he said.
The US ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget Brink, also denounced the strike “outrageous” and accused the the Kremlin of “weaponising” food.
“Russia must be held to account.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.