‘Russian missile strikes’ in Ukrainian port hours after grain deal, claims Odesa MP

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Russian missiles struck a key Ukrainian port Saturday, just one day after Kyiv and Moscow signed a breakthrough deal to unblock shipments of grain. 

Oleksiy Goncharenko, Odesa MP, said four “Kalibr missiles” were fired at the southern port, two of which were intercepted by Ukrainian forces. 

Pointing the finger at Russia, Ukraine’s air force chief said grain stores at the port had been deliberately targetted. 

Russia is yet to comment on the strikes and the above claims cannot be independently verified by Euronews. 

Goncharenko said there are wounded in Odesa, without specifying how many people or how serious their injuries were. 

The strike has been “unequivocally condemned” by the UN chief, alongside EU officials, such as EU Commission vice president Josep Borrell Fontelles, who said it “demonstrates Russia’s total disregard for international law.” 

On Friday, Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to allow millions of tonnes of much-needed wheat and maize to be shipped from Ukraine over the Black Sea. 

Odesa — the largest and most important port on the Black Sea — is integral for staging these shipments. 

Under the deal, which was brokered in Istanbul by Turkey and the UN, both Kyiv and Moscow agreed “not to attack” ships carrying grain as they sailed the heavily mined waters. 

Goncharenko said there had been six explosions in the city of Odea and that its port had caught fire after the attack.

He added that the Ukrainian airforce was engaging Russian planes over the city in southern Ukraine. 

Writing on Twitter, Goncharenko claimed “Putin [has] started to threaten [the] grain deal less than in 24 hours after its signing. He’s weaponising everything.”

Leaders of the African Union had welcomed the deal as their continent is heavily reliant on Ukrainian grain, which provides 40% of the wheat for the World Food Programme.

Ukraine accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “spitting in the face” of the UN and Turkey by bombing Odesa port, saying Moscow would bear “full responsibility” if the agreement failed. 

By firing missiles at Odesa, Putin “spit in the face of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who have made enormous efforts to reach this agreement”, said Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko.