Outraged by strike on Odesa, Ukraine still prepares to resume grain exports


By Natalia Zinets

KYIV, July 24 (Reuters)Ukraine was urgent forward on Sunday with efforts to restart grain exports from Odesa and different Black Sea ports after a missile assault that forged doubt over whether or not Russia would honour a deal aimed toward easing international meals shortages brought about by the struggle.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy denounced the strikes on Odesa as blatant “barbarism” that confirmed Moscow couldn’t be trusted to implement Friday’s deal, mediated by Turkey and the United Nations.

However, a authorities minister mentioned preparations to resume grain shipments have been ongoing, and public broadcaster Suspilne quoted the Ukrainian navy as saying the missiles had not considerably broken the port.

The deal signed by Moscow and Kyiv was hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough that might assist curb hovering international meals costs, however because the struggle entered its sixth month on Sunday there was no signal of a let-up within the combating.

While the principle theatre of fight has been the japanese area of Donbas, Zelenskiy mentioned in video posted late on Saturday that Ukrainian forces have been transferring “step by step” into the occupied japanese Black Sea area of Kherson.

The strikes on Odesa drew sturdy condemnation from the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, Britain, Germany and Italy. On Friday, U.N. officers had mentioned they hoped the settlement could be operational in a couple of weeks.

Video launched by the Ukrainian navy confirmed firefighters battling a blaze on an unidentified boat moored alongside a tug boat. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the authenticity of the video or the date it was filmed.

Turkey’s defence minister mentioned Russian officers informed Ankara that Moscow had “nothing to do” with the strikes. Neither Russian defence ministry statements nor the navy’s night abstract talked about missile strikes in Odesa. The ministry didn’t reply to a Reuters request for remark.

Two Russian Kalibr missiles hit the world of a pumping station on the port, two others have been shot down by air defence forces, in accordance to Ukraine’s navy. Ukrainian air pressure spokesperson Yuriy Ignat mentioned the missiles have been fired from warships within the Black Sea close to Crimea.

Suspilne quoted Ukraine’s southern navy command as saying the port’s grain storage space was not hit.

“Unfortunately there are wounded. The port’s infrastructure was damaged,” mentioned Odesa area governor Maksym Marchenko.

But Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov mentioned on Facebook that “we continue technical preparations for the launch of exports of agricultural products from our ports”.

The deal would restore grain shipments from the three reopened ports to pre-war ranges of 5 million tonnes a month, U.N. officers mentioned.


The strikes appeared to violate Friday’s deal, which might permit protected passage out and in of Ukrainian ports.

Zelenskiy vowed to do all the pieces doable to purchase air defence methods in a position to shoot down missiles like those who hit Odesa.

A blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia’s Black Sea fleet since Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion has trapped tens of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grain and stranded many ships.

This has worsened international provide chain bottlenecks. Along with Western sanctions on Russia, it has stoked meals and power worth inflation. Russia and Ukraine are main international wheat suppliers, and a world meals disaster has pushed some 47 million folks into “acute hunger,” in accordance to the World Food Programme.

Moscow denies accountability for the meals disaster, blaming Western sanctions for slowing its meals and fertiliser exports and Ukraine for mining the approaches to its ports.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned in an announcement that the assault on Odesa “casts serious doubt on the credibility of Russia’s commitment to yesterday’s deal.”

“Russia bears responsibility for deepening the global food crisis and must stop its aggression,” he added.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “unequivocally condemned” the strikes, a spokesperson mentioned, including full implementation of the deal was crucial.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusai Akar mentioned in an announcement: “The Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack … The fact that such an incident took place right after the agreement we made yesterday really worried us.”

Ukraine has mined waters close to its ports as a part of its struggle defences, however underneath the deal pilots will information ships alongside protected channels.

A Joint Coordination Center staffed by members of the 4 events to the settlement are to monitor ships transiting the Black Sea to Turkey’s Bosporus Strait and off to world markets. All sides agreed on Friday there could be no assaults on these entities.

Putin calls the struggle a “special military operation” aimed toward demilitarising Ukraine and rooting out harmful nationalists. Kyiv and the West name this a baseless pretext for an aggressive land seize.

A U.S. congressional delegation that met Zelenskiy in Kyiv promised continued assist.

Adam Smith, chair of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, was quoted as telling Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that Washington and its allies aimed to present extra a number of rocket launch methods.

QUOTES-Reactions to Russia’s strike on Ukraine’s Odesa port

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FACTBOX-U.N.-led deal to guarantee protected export of Ukraine’s grain

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(Reporting by Natalia Zinets in Kyiv, Tom Balmforth in London and Reuters bureaux; Writing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Matt Spetalnick and Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by William Mallard)

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