August 12, 2022

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Ukraine says Russian missiles hit Odessa, dealing a blow to the grain export deal

Ukraine says Russian missiles hit Odessa, dealing a blow to the grain export deal

Kyiv (Reuters) – Russian missiles hit infrastructure in southern Ukraine’s Odessa on Saturday, the Ukrainian military said, in a blow to a deal signed on Friday to scrap a ban on grain exports from Black Sea ports.

The landmark agreement signed by Moscow and Kiev on Friday will allow some exports to be shipped from Black Sea ports, including the Odessa hub.

“The enemy attacked the commercial port of Odessa with Kalibr cruise missiles,” the Southern Operations Command wrote on Telegram. It added that two missiles hit the port’s infrastructure, while the air defense forces shot down two others. Read more

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The blockade of Ukrainian ports by the Russian Black Sea fleet since Moscow invaded its neighbor on February 24 has left tens of millions of tons of grain and stranded many ships. This has exacerbated global supply chain bottlenecks and, combined with Western sanctions on Russia, has fueled food and energy price inflation.

Friday’s export agreement seeks to avert starvation among tens of millions of people in poor nations by pumping more wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizer and other products into global markets including for humanitarian needs, in part at lower prices.

Under the plan signed Friday, Ukrainian officials will direct the ships through secure channels through the mined waters to three ports, including Odessa, where they will be loaded with grain.

Moscow has denied responsibility for the crisis, blaming sanctions for slowing its exports of food and fertilizer, and for Ukraine for mining entrances to its Black Sea ports.

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Senior UN officials told reporters on Friday that the deal was expected to be fully operational within a few weeks and to restore grain shipments from the three reopened ports to pre-war levels of five million tons per month. Read more

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(Reporting by Reuters offices) Written by Jacob Groenholt Pedersen Editing by Frances Kerry

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