A day after the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea, Russia fired rockets at the port of Odessa, according to sources in Kyiv. “Yesterday, the export by sea was agreed, and today the Russians are attacking the port of Odessa,” said the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, on Saturday.
Russia bombard the port city. According to the Ukrainian military, two Russian missiles were intercepted by anti-aircraft defenses and two more hit the commercial port.
The port was “hit specifically where grain deliveries were processed,” Ukrainian military spokesman Yuriy Ignat told the AFP news agency. However, the damage to property is comparatively small, reports Ukrainian television.
A pumping station was hit and a small fire damaged several buildings, the broadcaster Suspilne quoted a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian military as saying. The site of the grain storage was not hit. According to the information available so far, no one was injured.
Even after the Russian rocket attack on Odessa, Ukraine says it is continuing its preparations to resume grain exports from its ports. Infrastructure Minister Olexander Kubrakow announced on Facebook.
According to Turkish sources, Russia had denied Turkey an attack on the Ukrainian port city of Odessa. “The Russians informed us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack and that they are investigating this matter very closely and in detail,” said Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. The attack is very unfortunate.
Russia finally admitted the attack on Sunday. A Ukrainian warship was hit with high-precision missiles, spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
In the agreement on Friday, Russia pledged to let the ships sail through a sea corridor and not to fire at them. The ports involved should also not be attacked. Yermak accused Russia of “hunger terror”. “The world must act.” What is needed are “effective sanctions against Russia and more weapons for Ukraine.”
The rocket fire only proves one thing, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a video distributed on Telegram: “No matter what Russia says or promises, it will find ways not to implement it.” The attack casts doubt on the agreement on the export of millions Tons of grain from Ukraine, said Foreign Ministry spokesman in Kyiv Oleh Nikolenko. Russian President Vladimir Putin “spits” his missiles in the face of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two went to great lengths to reach the agreement.
Ukraine is calling on the United Nations and Turkey to urge Russia to comply with the deal, Nikolenko said. If the agreement is not implemented, Russia will bear responsibility for the global food crisis. Ukraine plans to export around 20 million tons of grain.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock strongly condemned the Russian attack on the port of Odessa and questioned the credibility of Russian commitments. “The cowardly rocket attacks on the port of Odessa show that the signature of the Russian leadership currently counts for little,” Baerbock told the Reuters news agency on Saturday. The millions of people around the world who are hitting Russia hard with its “grain war” are hoping that Russia will keep its promises and allow grain to be transported across the Black Sea.
“But the attack also shows us that we must continue to work flat out on alternatives,” added the Green politician, alluding to the export of Ukrainian grain via ports in Romania, for example.
Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) wrote on Twitter: “It’s so terrible. So much hope yesterday because of the deal. Attacks on today
Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) commented on Twitter: “Yesterday: Erdogan mediates
Criticism also comes from the United States: the US ambassador in Kyiv considers the attack on Odessa outrageous and demands that Russia be held accountable. “The Kremlin continues to weaponize staple foods,” Bridget Brink said on Twitter, referring to the deal between Russia, Ukraine and Turkey to resume grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
At least one German company is active in the port of the city on the Black Sea. The “Container Terminal Odessa” is operated by the German Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) and handles bulk goods, among other things. In addition to building materials such as sand and gravel, bulk goods also include foodstuffs such as grain, the export of which was regulated in the agreement between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations.