Ukraine is working to resume grain exports, flagging Russian strikes as a risk

  • Russia, which confirmed the Odessa attack, says a warship was hit
  • Zelenskiy: Attack shows Moscow can’t be trusted with deal
  • Adviser to Zelensky: Exports will suffer if strikes continue
  • Moscow, Kiev signed a grain export agreement on Friday
  • The agreement sought to avert a global food crisis

KYIV, July 24 (Reuters) – Ukraine on Sunday stepped up efforts to resume grain exports from Black Sea ports under a deal aimed at easing global food shortages, but warned that supplies could be affected if a Russian missile attack on Odessa. to come

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

Ukrainian military quoted public broadcaster Zaspilne as saying that the Russian missiles did not hit the grain storage area of ​​the port or cause significant damage. Kyiv said preparations are 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.

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

Russia said on Sunday its forces struck a Ukrainian warship and a weapons depot in Odessa with its high-precision missiles.

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

But Zelenskiy’s economic adviser warned on Sunday that a strike on Odesa represented an unachievable strike.

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

He said Ukraine could export 60 million tons of grain in the next nine months, but that would take 24 months if operations at its ports were disrupted. read more

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 eastern Donbass region that paved the way for the attack on Pakmut.

Three Russian Kalibr missiles launched from the Black Sea targeting the western Khmelnytsky region were shot down early Sunday, its air force command said.

While Donbass has been the main theater of the battle, Ukraine’s military said its forces had moved within firing range of Russian targets, where Kiev is launching a counteroffensive in the occupied eastern Black Sea region of Kherson.

“Many transport infrastructure items in the temporarily occupied territory have been taken under fire control, which significantly limits the maneuverability and logistics of the enemy’s troops,” the Southern Army Command said in a Facebook post.

It said it also destroyed a Russian S-300 anti-aircraft battery in the region. read more

Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield reports.

A safe path

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

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.

Friday’s agreement aims to allow safe passage in and out of Ukrainian ports blocked by Russia’s Black Sea fleet since Moscow’s February 24 invasion.

Ukraine and Russia are major global wheat exporters and the blockade has trapped tens of thousands of tonnes of grain, worsening 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 waters near its ports as part of its war defenses, but under Friday’s agreement pilots will steer ships through safer 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 and Max Hunter in Kiev, Tom Balmforth and Reuters Bureau in London; Written by Simon Cameron-Moore and Tomasz Janowski; Editing: William Mallard, Angus MacSwan and Alexandra Hudson

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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