Ukraine lashed out at the Kremlin on Saturday and said it would be responsible for any food crisis if a deal to export Ukrainian grain from Odessa falls through after Russian missiles hit a Black Sea port.
“The Russian missile (strike) is a spit in the face of (Russian President) Vladimir Putin to UN Secretary General António Guterres and Turkish President Recep (Tayyip) Erdogan, who made great efforts to reach an agreement,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said. .
“If the agreement reached is not implemented, Russia will bear full responsibility for the deepening of the global food crisis,” he added.
The landmark agreement, signed by Moscow and Kyiv on Friday, is seen as crucial to containing global food prices and will allow certain exports to be shipped from Black Sea ports, including Odessa.
“The enemy attacked the Odessa Sea Trade Port with Kalibr cruise missiles,” the Operational Command “South” of Ukraine said in the Telegram messenger.
Two missiles hit the infrastructure of the port, two more were shot down by air defense forces.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry called on the UN and Turkey, which mediated Friday’s deal, to ensure Russia fulfills its obligations and allows free passage through the grain corridor.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The Russian Black Sea Fleet’s blockade of Ukrainian ports following Moscow’s February 24 invasion of the neighboring country has trapped tens of millions of tons of grain and stranded many ships.
This has exacerbated bottlenecks in the global supply chain and, along with Western sanctions on Russia, has driven up food and energy prices.
An export deal struck on Friday aims to avert starvation among tens of millions of people in poorer countries by injecting more wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizer and other products into world markets, including for humanitarian needs, partly at lower prices. .
Senior United Nations officials, briefing reporters on Friday, said the deal is expected to be fully implemented in a few weeks and restore grain shipments from the three reopened ports to pre-war levels of 5 million tons per month.
Under the agreement, Ukrainian officials will guide ships through safe channels through mined waters to three ports, including Odessa, where they will be loaded with grain.
Moscow denies responsibility for the crisis, blaming Western sanctions for slowing its own food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine for mining its Black Sea ports.
Russian missile attack kills three, local governor says
According to the local governor, the attack in Odessa occurred after 13 Russian missiles hit a military airfield and railway infrastructure in the central part of the Kirovohrad region, killing at least three people.
Speaking on television, Andrei Raikovich said that two guards of the electrical substation had been killed.
According to him, a Ukrainian soldier was also killed, nine more were wounded.
Mr. Raikovich said the strikes had disrupted the power grid, leaving one district of the region’s capital, Kropyvnytskyi, about 300 kilometers southeast of Kyiv, without power.