- Russia confirms Odesa strike, says warship was hit
- Zelenskiy: attack shows Moscow can’t be trusted on deal
- Zelenskiy’s advisor: shipments will suffer if strikes continue
- Moscow, Kyiv had signed grain export deal on Friday
- Accord had sought to avert major global food crisis
KYIV, July 24 (Reuters) – Ukraine pressed ahead on Sunday with efforts to restart grain exports from its Black Sea ports under a deal aimed at easing global food shortages but warned deliveries would suffer if a Russian missile strike on Odesa was a sign of more to come.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy denounced Saturday’s attack as “barbarism” that showed Moscow could not be trusted to implement a deal struck just one day earlier with Turkish and United Nations mediation.
The Ukrainian military, quoted by public broadcaster Suspilne, said the Russian missiles did not hit the port’s grain storage area or cause significant damage. Kyiv said preparations to resume grain shipments were ongoing.
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“We continue technical preparations for the launch of exports of agricultural products from our ports,” Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a Facebook post.
According to the Ukrainian military, two Kalibr missiles fired from Russian warships hit the area of a pumping station at the port and two others were shot down by air defence forces.
Russia said on Sunday its forces had hit a Ukrainian warship and a weapons store in Odesa with its high-precision missiles.
The deal signed by Moscow and Kyiv on Friday was hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough that would help curb soaring global food prices by restoring Ukrainian grain shipments to pre-war levels of 5 million tonnes a month. read more
But Zelenskiy’s economic advisor warned on Sunday the strike on Odesa signalled that could be out of reach.
“Yesterday’s strike indicates that it will definitely not work like that,” Oleh Ustenko told Ukranian television.
He said Ukraine could export 60 million tonnes of grain over the next nine months, but it would take up to 24 months if its ports’ operations were disrupted. read more
WAR ENTERS SIXTH MONTH
As the war entered its sixth month on Sunday there was no sign of a let-up in the fighting.
The Ukrainian military reported Russian shelling in the north, south and east, and again referred to Russian operations paving the way for an assault on Bakhmut in the eastern Donbas region.
Its air force command said three Russian Kalibr cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea and aimed at the western Khmelnytskiy region were shot down early on Sunday.
While the main theatre of combat has been the Donbas, Ukraine’s military said its forces have moved within a firing range from Russian targets in the occupied eastern Black Sea region of Kherson where Kyiv is mounting a counter-offensive.
“Several transport infrastructure objects in the temporarily occupied territory have been taken under fire control, which significantly limits the manoeuvrability and logistics of the enemy’s troops,” the southern military command said in a Facebook post.
It said it had also destroyed a Russian S-300 anti-air battery in the region. read more
Reuters could not…