Explosions rock Ukrainian port hours after grain deal

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Explosions rock a key Ukrainian port days after Kyiv and Moscow reached a landmark deal to permit grain exports across the Black Sea

o Two missiles hit the city of Odessa early morning on Saturday, Ukraine’s military state. 

o As per the Friday deal, Russia agreed to not target ports while grain shipments were in transit, thereby breaching agreement.

Two missile explosions hit the city of Odessa in the early morning on Saturday, Ukraine’s military report. This comes days after Kyiv and Moscow reached a landmark deal to allow the transit of grain exports and as per this deal, Russia agreed to not target ports while grain shipments were in transit. 

Turkey’s defense minister, Hulusi Akar  says that Russian officials have denied carrying out the strikes. He said that in the contact with Russia, Russians said that they had nothing to do with the attack and that they were making efforts to examine the issue very closely and in detail, Hulusai Akar said in a brief statement.

European Union’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the attack had displayed Russia’s “complete disregard” for international law. He tweeted that striking a crucial target for grain export a day after the signing of Istanbul agreements is particularly reprehensible, he added that the EU strongly condemns the attack.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also condemned the attack, saying that the full implementation of the grain deal made between Russia, Ukraine and Turkey was integral. The products in export are essential for addressing the global food crisis and to ease the millions of people in need around the globe, a UN official added.

In a social media post, the Ukrainian Army’s southern command center said that two Kalibr missiles had hit the port at Odessa, while two more had been intercepted by air defense systems. Oleksiy Honcharenko, local MP, spoke on Telegram saying that the city’s port had burst into flames after the strike.

Mr Honcharenko called the Russian forces scumbags for signing contracts with one hand while directing missiles with the other. In contrast, Nataliia Humeniuk, spokesperson for the Ukrainian military’s southern command said that the strike did not have a serious impact on the port and no grave damage was caused to the infrastructure.

She said that the rockets are quite expensive so they are not used too often. They are made to be highly accurate and they hit accurately. On Friday, officials from Kyiv and Moscow signed a deal to permit millions of tonnes of grain stored in Ukraine to be exported. The deal was set to last for 120 days, with a coordination and monitoring center in Istanbul, staffed by UN, Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian officials. 

In the fresh events in the war, British defense officials say Russian troops in the Kherson area risked being cut off from their supply lines by Ukrainian forces. A large counteroffensive has been launched by Kyiv and its forces have used new long-range US origin missile systems to target the Antonovsky Bridge in Kherson.

Coming soon after Russia and Ukraine signed documents agreeing to abide by the terms of an agreement to facilitate the export of grain from Odessa and its satellite ports, this is possibly an attempt from Moscow to set the terms.

But that seems to run counter to yesterday’s statement by Moscow’s Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, that Russia’s goals were clearly set out according to the text of the document signed by Russia in Istanbul. It says the sides will not participate in any attacks against merchant vessels or port facilities engaged in this initiative.

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