Russian missiles strike Odesa HOURS after signing ‘landmark’ grain deal to protect food supplies
Russia launched an ‘outrageous’ airstrike on the Ukrainian port city of Odessa just hours after signing a deal to ensure the safe passage of grain out of the country.
Kalibr cruise missiles rained down on the Black Sea dock before noon local time, according to footage from residents.
Ukrainian air defense technology put two missiles in the air but failed to prevent hitting two more targets.
Due to the brutal air raids, cold water was poured over the ‘landmark’ deal to unblock crucial grain exports stuck in three ports, including Odessa, signed yesterday in Istanbul.
US Ambassador to Kiev Bridget Brink called the attack “outrageous.”
Footage taken today by locals in Odessa shows the harbor on fire after being hit by Russian Kalibr missiles. Two missiles allegedly hit targets in the Black Sea export capital
She wrote on Twitter: “Russia attacks the port city of Odessa, less than 24 hours after signing an agreement to allow transports of agricultural exports.
“The Kremlin continues to arm food. Russia must be held accountable.’
Ukraine’s foreign ministry today urged the UN to enforce the deal after the strikes.
The attack came minutes after Russian bombs fell on a university in Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city.
At least one person was injured earlier today at the National University of Economics.
Army officials inspect damage to National University of Economics in Kharkiv . today
The Russian bombing came minutes after targets were hit in the port city of Odessa
At least one person was injured in the attack on Ukraine’s second-largest city near the border
Putin’s grain blockade, in place since the invasion began on Feb. 24, has trapped tens of millions of tons of food en route to the Middle East and Africa.
Yesterday’s deal was intended to prevent famine among tens of millions of people in poorer countries by injecting wheat, sunflower oil and fertilizers into world markets, including for humanitarian needs, partly at lower prices.
Under the plan, Ukrainian officials would guide ships through secure channels across mining waters to three ports, where they would be loaded with grain.
Ukrainian officials were generally shocked by the immediate apparent breach of the deal
Moscow has denied responsibility for the food supply crisis, blaming sanctions for slowing its own food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine for mining access to its Black Sea ports.
Senior UN officials, informing reporters Friday, said the deal is expected to be fully operational within weeks and restore grain shipments from the three reopened ports to pre-war levels of 5 million tons per month.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised the deal as a “deal for the world”, although he admitted it “wasn’t easy…it’s been a long road”.
Pictured is a truck waiting at a grain terminal in Odessa during harvest early this morning
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, whose country offered neutral ground to sign the treaty, was quick to garner praise for his part in organizing the settlement.
“We are proud to play a key role in an initiative that will play an important role in solving the global food crisis that has long been on the agenda,” he said.
He went on to boldly claim, “War will end at the negotiating table. This is a turning point.’
The blockade of Ukrainian ports by the Russian Black Sea Fleet has exacerbated disruptions to the global supply chain and, along with Western sanctions imposed on Moscow, fueled high inflation in food and energy prices since Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24. .
Grain fields burn on the outskirts of Kurakhove near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine on Thursday
Guterres said the deal paves the way for significant amounts of commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian ports — Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny — and explained that the UN would set up a coordination center to oversee implementation of the deal.
British Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister-designate Liz Truss congratulated Turkey and the UN on getting the deal done, but stressed that it was up to Russia to keep its promises.
“Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine has left some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at risk of being left with nothing to eat,” Truss said in a statement.
“Now this agreement must be implemented, and we will see that Russia’s actions match its words.”
Turkish President Erdogan, right, and UN Secretary General Guterres, left as Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu shakes hands with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar at Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) arrive in Istanbul for a signing ceremony of an initiative for the safe transportation of grain and foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports
The United States also welcomed the deal, saying it aims to hold Russia accountable for its implementation.
Guterres said overseeing the deal was one of the most significant achievements of his career, but admitted nothing could be done to punish Russia if it violated the terms of the agreement.
The UN chief said a violation of the agreement would be “an absolutely unacceptable scandal and the entire international community would react very strongly.”
Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov attends the signing ceremony in Istanbul
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who personally signed the agreement, said Moscow would not “benefit” from the demining and opening of Ukrainian ports.
“Russia has taken on the obligations clearly set out in this document,” Shoigu told state TV channel Rossiya-24 after the signing ceremony in Istanbul.
“We will not take advantage of the gates being cleared and opened.
“We’ve made this commitment.”
Turkey, a NATO member with good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, controls the straits leading to the Black Sea and has acted as a grain broker.
Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich, who also acts as a negotiator and ambassador, was present at yesterday’s signing.
Guy Platten, secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), told reporters it remains to be seen how exports will begin, as Ukraine’s coasts are strewn with mines.
“This is a much needed breakthrough for the millions of people who depend on the safe passage of grain to survive. But while this is an important step, there is still a lot of work to be done,” he said.
“Ensuring crew safety will be crucial if we are to move this agreement forward quickly. Questions remain about how ships will navigate heavily buried waters and how we can effectively man ships in the region to meet the proposed deadline.”