Ukraine works to resume grain exports despite Russian strike on Odessa

  • Moscow, Kiev signed a grain export agreement on Friday
  • The agreement sought to avert a global food crisis
  • Zelenskiy: Attack shows Moscow can’t be trusted with deal

KYIV, July 24 (Reuters) – Ukraine on Sunday stepped up efforts to restart grain exports from Black Sea ports after a missile attack on Odessa.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy condemned Saturday’s strikes as “barbaric” and showed that Moscow could not be trusted to implement the agreement reached a day earlier with Turkish and United Nations mediation.

Public broadcaster Saspilne quoted the Ukrainian military as saying after the strike that the missiles did not hit or cause significant damage to the grain storage area of ​​the port, and Kyiv said preparations were underway to resume grain exports.

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“We are continuing technical preparations for the export of agricultural products from our ports,” Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a Facebook post.

Russia said its forces had hit a Ukrainian warship and a weapons depot in Odessa with missiles on Sunday.

The agreement signed by Moscow and Kyiv was hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough that would help curb rising global food prices by restoring grain exports from Ukrainian ports to 5 million tonnes a month. read more

But Zelenskiy’s economic adviser showed Sunday’s strike on Odesa could hit supplies even more seriously.

“Yesterday’s strike indicates that it definitely doesn’t work that way,” Oleh Ustenko told Ukrainian television.

While Ukraine has the capacity to export 60 million tonnes of grain over the next nine months, this could take 24 months if its ports cannot function properly, he said. read more

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The war enters its sixth month

As the war entered its sixth month on Sunday, the fight showed no signs of letting up.

The Ukrainian military announced Russian shelling in the north, south and east, and reiterated Russian actions in the east that paved the way for an attack on Pakmut in the Donbass region.

The Air Force Command said it shot down three Russian Kalibr missiles launched from the Black Sea targeting the western Khmelnytskyi region early Sunday.

Zelensky said in a video on Saturday that Ukrainian forces were “gradually” moving into the occupied eastern Black Sea region of Kherson, although the main theater of the war was Donbass. read more

The strikes on Odessa drew condemnation from the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, Britain, Germany and Italy.

Video released by Ukraine’s military shows firefighters battling a fire on an unidentified boat docked alongside a tugboat. Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the video or the date it was filmed.

A Ukrainian warship and US-supplied anti-ship missiles were destroyed, Russian news agencies quoted Russia’s Defense Ministry as saying. read more

“A docked Ukrainian warship and a warehouse of US-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles were destroyed by long-range precision-guided naval missiles in Odessa port in the territory of a ship repair plant,” it said.

On Saturday, Turkey’s defense minister said Russian officials told Ankara that Moscow had “nothing to do” with the strikes.

According to the Ukrainian military, two Kalibr missiles fired from Russian warships hit part of a water station in the port and two others were shot down by air defense forces.

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A safe path

The strikes appeared to violate Friday’s agreement to allow safe passage in and out of Ukrainian ports.

Ukraine and Russia are major global wheat exporters and Ukrainian ports have been blockaded by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. February of Moscow. 24 After the invasion, tens of thousands of tons of grain were stranded, exacerbating global supply chain disruptions.

Along with Western sanctions on Russia, it has fueled food and energy price inflation, pushing some 47 million people into “severe hunger,” according to the World Food Program.

Moscow denies responsibility for the food crisis, blaming sanctions for reducing its food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine’s mining approaches to its ports.

Ukraine has dredged the waters near its ports as part of its war defenses, but under the agreement pilots will guide ships through safe routes. read more

There is a joint coordination center made up of members of the four parties to the treaty to monitor vessels crossing the Black Sea through Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait and heading to global markets. All parties agreed on Friday that there were no attacks on them.

Putin calls the war a “special military operation” aimed at militarizing Ukraine and rooting out dangerous nationalists. Kiev and the West call it a baseless pretext for an aggressive land grab.

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Reporting by Natalia Sinets in Kiev, Tom Balmforth and Reuters Bureau in London; Written by Matt Spedelnik Simon Cameron-Moore and Tomasz Janowski; Editing by William Mallard and Angus MacSwan

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