Ukraine says Russian missiles hit Odesa, dealing blow to grain export deal

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KYIV — Russian missiles hit infrastructure in Odesa in southern Ukraine on Saturday, the Ukrainian navy mentioned, dealing a blow to a deal signed on Friday to unblock grain exports from Black Sea ports.

The landmark deal signed by Moscow and Kyiv on Friday is seen as essential to reining in international meals costs and would enable sure exports to be shipped from Black Sea ports, together with the hub of Odesa.

“The enemy attacked the Odesa sea commerce port with Kalibr cruise missiles,” Ukraine’s Operational Command South wrote on the Telegram messaging app. Two missiles hit infrastructure on the port, whereas one other two had been shot down by air protection forces, it mentioned.

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Ukraine’s international ministry known as on the United Nations and Turkey, which mediated Friday’s deal, to make sure that Russia fulfills its commitments and permits free passage within the grain hall.

Russia’s protection ministry didn’t instantly reply to a Reuters’ request for remark.

A blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia’s Black Sea fleet since Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of its neighbor has trapped tens of tens of millions of tonnes of grain and stranded many ships. This has worsened international provide chain bottlenecks and, together with Western sanctions on Russia, stoked meals and power worth inflation.

Friday’s export deal seeks to avert famine amongst tens of tens of millions of individuals in poorer nations by injecting extra wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizer and different merchandise into world markets together with for humanitarian wants, partly at decrease costs.

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Senior U.N. officers, briefing reporters on Friday, mentioned the deal was anticipated to be totally operational in just a few weeks and would restore grain shipments from the three reopened ports to pre-war ranges of 5 million tonnes a month.

Underneath the deal, Ukrainian officers would information ships by means of secure channels throughout mined waters to 3 ports, together with Odesa, the place they’d be loaded with grain.

Moscow has denied accountability for the disaster, blaming Western sanctions for slowing its personal meals and fertilizer exports and Ukraine for mining the approaches to its Black Sea ports.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus Writing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen Modifying by Frances Kerry)

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