Less than one day after reaching an agreement with Ukraine, facilitated by Turkey, to allow desperately needed grain exports to move through sea ports out of the country, Russia launched four cruise missiles in an attack the Black Sea trade port in Odessa.
According to The Hill:
Four Kalibr cruise missiles jetted toward the port, two of which were shot down before hitting the port, the city of Odessa announced.
The grain deal, which was also mediated by the United Nations, attempted to improve global food shortages by allowing ports in Ukraine, including the Black Sea trade port, to operate and ship grain worldwide.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has lead to a de facto blockage of Black Sea ports, keeping key agricultural goods from leaving the area.
“It took less than 24 hours for Russia to launch a missile attack on Odessa’s port, breaking its promises and undermining its commitments before the UN and Türkiye under the Istanbul agreement,” Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Oleg Nikolenko tweeted. “In case of non-fulfillment, Russia will bear full responsibility for global food crisis.”
The Ministry of Agrarian Policy told Ukraine’s Suspilne News that there were plans to ship grain out from the Odessa before it was hit by missiles.
“This is not an attack on Odesa port. This is a blow to the whole world,” said Odessa Regional Military Administration spokesman Bratchuk Sergey of the incident.
US officials decried the attack on Twitter, where U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget A. Brink called it “outrageous”.
“Russia strikes the port city of Odesa less than 24 hours after signing an agreement to allow shipments of agricultural exports. The Kremlin continues to weaponize food.”
She said Russia must be “held to account” for its actions.