War in Ukraine: missile fire on the port of Odessa, crucial for the export of cereals

War in Ukraine: Missile fire on Odessa port crucial for export cereals


Russian strikes targeted the port of Odessa on Saturday, with Ukraine accusing Vladimir Putin of “spitting in the face” of the UN and Turkey and undermining the application of the agreement signed the day before on the resumption of grain blocked by the war. 

Odessa is the largest city and the most important port on the entire Black Sea coast, crucial for the resumption of Ukrainian cereal exports in the face of the risk of famines in the world.

By firing cruise missiles at the port of Odessa, the Russian president “spit in the face of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep (Tayyip) Erdogan, who have made enormous efforts to achieve this agreement,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko.

Ukraine immediately warned that Russia would bear “full responsibility” if the agreement failed. on grain exports.

A spokesman for the Odessa region administration, Sergiy Brachuk, claimed that two of the cruise missiles were shot down by air defense.

Central Ukraine did not were not spared either with a resumption on Saturday of Russian strikes which killed three people, after a lull in the fighting which concentrated on the Donbass (east).

Thirteen Russian cruise missiles launched from the sea ​​fell near the town of Kropyvnytskyi located in the Kirovograd region (center), announced its governor Andriy Raikovych.

War in Ukraine: Missile fires on Odessa port, crucial for export of food

War in Ukraine: missile fire on the port of Odessa, crucial for grain export

He said railway infrastructure and a military airfield were targeted near the town of Kropyvnytskyi.

“Nine Ukrainian servicemen were injured and one soldier was killed,” he said.

These strikes come the day after the grain agreement that the two belligerents initialed in two identical but separate texts, at the request of the Ukrainians who refused to sign with the Russians.

The African Union was “welcomed” on Saturday by this agreement, hailing a “welcome development” for the continent which faces an increased risk of famine.

The agreement should allow exports between 20 and 25 million tons of grain blocked in Ukraine.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia – two countries which supply in particular 30% of world wheat exports – led to a surge in the price of cereals and oils, hitting hard the African continent very dependent on these countries for its supply.

This rise in prices has worsened the situation of countries already facing a food crisis, particularly in the Horn of Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti) which is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years.

Wheat prices fell sharply in Chicago and on Euronext on Friday, returning to prewar levels in Ukraine, in reaction to the deal.

The signing of this fiercely negotiated text under the auspices of the United Nations and Ankara took place in Istanbul in the presence in particular of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, and President Erdogan.

The conditions are met for its application “in the coming days”, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu assured shortly after.

Washington, which supports Ukraine against Russian aggression, has weighed on Moscow responsibility for the success of the operation. “It is now up to Russia to concretely implement this agreement,” said the number 3 of American diplomacy, Victoria Nuland.

Ukraine has shown itself to be circumspect.

It is now “the responsibility of the UN” to guarantee compliance with the agreement, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in the evening. saying to expect “provocations, attempts to discredit Ukrainian and international efforts.”

“The agreement fully corresponds to the interests of Ukraine”, he however welcomed, adding that the Ukrainian military would continue to control “100% all access to the ports”, which Russia initially demanded to be demined.< /p>

The main measure resulting from the agreement is the establishment of “secure corridors” to allow the circulation in the Black Sea of ​​merchant ships, which Moscow and Kyiv undertake “not to attack”, explained a United Nations official.

It will be valid for “120 days”, the time to release the approximately 25 million tons accumulated in the silos of Ukraine while a new harvest approaches.< /p>

The negotiators, however, gave up on clearing the Black Sea of ​​mines – mainly laid by the Ukrainians to protect their coasts. The UN specified that “Ukrainian pilots” would clear the way for cargo ships in territorial waters.

As for the inspections of ships departing from and heading to Ukraine, demanded by Russia to prevent use them to bring weapons, they will take place in the ports of Istanbul.

A few hours before the signing, the Kremlin had stressed that if Ukrainian cereals were to reach world markets, it must also “allow markets to receive additional volumes of fertilizers and cereals” from Russia, the export of which was hampered by Western sanctions.

In addition, Washington announced on Friday a new tranche of aid $270 million to Ukraine, including four new Himars precision artillery systems, and up to 500 Phoenix Ghost kamikaze drones.