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Russian missiles hit Ukraine port; Kyiv says it is still preparing grain exports

Commodities Jul 23, 2022 08:21PM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar attend a signing ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey July 22, 2022. REUTERS/Umit Bektas 2/3
 
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By Natalia Zinets

KYIV (Reuters) -Russian missiles hit Ukraine's southern port of Odesa on Saturday, the Ukrainian military said, threatening a deal signed just a day earlier to unblock grain exports from Black Sea ports and ease global food shortages caused by the war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the strike blatant "barbarism" showing Moscow could not be trusted to implement the deal. However, public broadcaster Suspilne quoted the Ukrainian military as saying the missiles had not caused significant damage and a government minister said preparations continued to restart grain exports from Black Sea ports.

The deal signed on Friday by Moscow and Kyiv and mediated by the United Nations and Turkey was hailed as a breakthrough after nearly five months of punishing fighting since Russia invaded its neighbour. It is seen as crucial to curbing soaring global food prices by allowing grain exports to be shipped from Black Sea ports including Odesa.

The strikes on Odesa drew strong condemnation from the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, Britain, Germany and Italy. On Friday, U.N. officials said they hoped the agreement would be operational in a few weeks.

Turkey's defence minister said Russian officials told Ankara that Moscow had "nothing to do" with the strikes. Neither Russian defence ministry statements nor the military's evening summary mentioned missile strikes in Odesa. The ministry did not reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Two Russian Kalibr missiles hit the area of a pumping station at the port; two others were shot down by air defence forces, according to Ukraine's military. Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yuriy Ignat said the missiles were fired from warships in the Black Sea near Crimea.

Suspilne quoted Ukraine's southern military command as saying the port's grain storage area was not hit.

"Unfortunately there are wounded. The port's infrastructure was damaged," said Odesa region governor Maksym Marchenko.

But Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Facebook (NASDAQ:META) that "we continue technical preparations for the launch of exports of agricultural products from our ports".

SAFE PASSAGE

The strike appeared to violate Friday's deal, which would allow safe passage in and out of Ukrainian ports.

"If anyone in the world could have said before this that some kind of dialogue with Russia, some kind of agreements, would be necessary, look at what is happening," Zelenskiy said in a late-night video.

He vowed to do everything possible to acquire air defense systems able to shoot down missiles like those that hit Odesa.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that "this attack 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 said, adding full implementation of the deal was imperative.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusai Akar said in a statement: "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 near its ports as part of its war defences, but under the deal pilots will guide ships along safe channels.

A Joint Coordination Center (JCC) staffed by members of all four parties to the agreement will then monitor ships transitting the Black Sea to Turkey's Bosphorus Strait and off to world markets. All sides agreed on Friday there would be no attacks on these entities.

'SPIT IN THE FACE'

Ukraine foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said on Facebook that "the Russian missile is (Russian President) Vladimir Putin's spit in the face" of Guterres and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Moscow has denied responsibility for the food crisis, blaming Western sanctions for slowing its food and fertiliser exports and Ukraine for mining the approaches to its ports.

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

This has worsened global supply chain bottlenecks. Along with Western sanctions on Russia, it has stoked food and energy price inflation. Russia and Ukraine are major global wheat suppliers and a global food crisis has pushed some 47 million people into "acute hunger," according to the World Food Programme.

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

Also on Saturday, the U.S. State Department confirmed that two Americans were killed recently in Ukraine's Donbas region but declined to provide details.

A U.S. congressional delegation that met Zelenskiy in Kyiv promised continued support. 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 provide more multiple rocket launch systems.

Three people were killed when 13 Russian missiles hit a military airfield and railway infrastructure in Ukraine's central region of Kirovohrad, the regional governor said.

Ukraine struck a bridge in the occupied Black Sea region of Kherson, targeting a Russian supply route, a Ukrainian official said. The deputy head of the Russian-installed regional authority said the bridge had been hit but was still operating, Russia's TASS news agency said.

Zelenskiy said late on Saturday that Ukrainian forces were moving "step by step" into the eastern Kherson region, which was taken over by Russia at the start of the war.

Putin calls the war a "special military operation" and has said it is aimed at demilitarising Ukraine and rooting out dangerous nationalists. Kyiv and the West call this a baseless pretext for an aggressive land grab.

Russian missiles hit Ukraine port; Kyiv says it is still preparing grain exports
 

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Comments (37)
steve rosenberg
steve rosenberg Jul 25, 2022 1:31AM ET
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Has Mother Russia lost her Marbles? Yes, She's gone crazy with clear signs of Inhumanity and Child Abuse
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 24, 2022 9:46AM ET
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First turkey it wasn’t Russia and them Russia say’s it was them don’t trust them erdogan stinks
Nils Hullmann
Nils Hullmann Jul 24, 2022 4:07AM ET
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this must be the worst false flag in history
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 24, 2022 4:07AM ET
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Good point
Eric Malm
Eric Malm Jul 24, 2022 2:00AM ET
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Propaganda at its worst. The Russians say they didn't do it, and most educated and informed people know this is most probably the truth. Shameful false reporting.
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 24, 2022 2:00AM ET
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Sick world we are living in
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jul 24, 2022 2:00AM ET
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Russia is not trustworthy.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jul 24, 2022 2:00AM ET
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Russia's ambassador to the US on February 20, 2022 as Russia was massing 150,000 troops in Belarus on the border with Ukraine, 4 days before invading: "There is no invasion. There is no such plans. Russia has publicly … declared its readiness to continue the diplomatic efforts to resolve all outstanding issues. Russian troops are on sovereign Russian territory. We don’t threaten anyone.”
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 24, 2022 2:00AM ET
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Biden or USA warnt Ukraine and Europe but nobody listen and polen for 10 years ago we must find a alternative to Russischen gas but that pass now a deal about grain i thinking big trucks 88000 pound’s trucks or NATO big ships in Denmark we have the logistics but Russia dont care they will bombs them they don’t care if it is red corset or medical bad situation
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Jul 24, 2022 2:00AM ET
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Eric is gurgling Putyn’s skeet tonight
Dave Jones
Dave Jones Jul 23, 2022 11:54PM ET
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I don't want to invest in blumin crypto with the help of some random. Bring back the humans!
Leo Philip
Leo Philip Jul 23, 2022 9:55PM ET
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The intervention of Western countries in the political situation between Ukraine and Russia led to the invasion and the continuous aggravation of the situation. Feel sorry for the people of Ukraine for the stupid leadership of Zelenskiy. US, UK and Russia has led the underdeveloped nations of the world in Africa and Asia into a situation that they are unable to recover just after covid.
moyisp ru
moyisp ru Jul 23, 2022 9:02PM ET
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Stop posting fakes! Ukranian missile hit old ukranian boat
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 23, 2022 9:02PM ET
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You top now fool
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 23, 2022 2:43PM ET
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To American soldiers dead Ukraine fighting against Russias aggression goodbles them
James Johannsen
James Johannsen Jul 23, 2022 2:43PM ET
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where were they fighting against US aggression in Iraq Afghanistan Korea Vietnam and so many others
Benoit Avril
Benoit Avril Jul 23, 2022 1:10PM ET
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He can't be trusted. For those who think it's a lie, if it was Turkey would have seen it with its radar, as well as all the countries watching the region.
First Last
First Last Jul 23, 2022 1:10PM ET
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Russians "can't be trusted" is the key takeaway.  It was never negotiating peace w/ Ukraine in good faith.  It didn't adhere to arms treaties w/ the US.  It cheated India with the sale of aircraft carrier.  The way to understand the Russian gov't is to imagine the result of a coup d'etat by an organized crime syndicate.
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Jul 23, 2022 1:06PM ET
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Not study China is planning this
 
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