Hours After Signing Grain Deal, Russia Attacks Port: Ukraine

Official calls airstrike 'a spit in the face' to UN, Turkey
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2022 5:15 PM CDT
Ukraine Calls Russian Attack on Port a 'Spit in the Face' to UN
In this photo provided by the Odesa City Hall Press Office, firefighters put out a blaze in the port after a Russian missiles attack on June 5.   (Odesa City Hall Press Office via AP)

No sooner had Russia signed an agreement to let grain shipments again flow through the Ukrainian city of Odessa than the port was hit by an airstrike. Among those condemning the attack Saturday was the secretary-general of the UN, who had helped broker the deal, along with Turkey's president, and had praised it just hours before at the signing ceremony in Istanbul. A Ukrainian official called the attack a "spit in the face" to Antonio Guterres and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Washington Post reports. "That's all you need to know about deals with Russia," Estonia's prime minister posted on Twitter.

The deal Russia and Ukraine agreed to Friday specified that neither country would attack port facilities or civilian ships used to transport grain, per the Wall Street Journal. Turkey said Russian officials denied launching the attack, but Ukraine reported that at least two Russian Kalibr cruise missiles struck Odessa, damaging infrastructure but missing grain silos at the Black Sea port. Two other missiles were shot down by Ukraine's aerial defenses, officials said. Russia has been launching the missiles from submarines and warships at Odessa, the only major port resisting occupation by Russian forces. A regional official wasn't sure how many people were injured in the airstrikes.

The US ambassador to Ukraine called the attack "outrageous," per the AP. "The Kremlin continues to weaponize food. Russia must be held to account." Bridget Brink tweeted. US official Samantha Power said Saturday the agreement "was a glimmer of hope," per CNN. She called the airstrike "grotesque." In his video address Saturday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the grain deal had provided "a chance to prevent a global catastrophe—a famine that could lead to political chaos in many countries of the world, in particular in the countries that help us." (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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