(Update 1: Adds details and reactions, alters the lead)
Lviv, Ukraine, Jul 23 (EFE).- Ukrainian authorities denounced on Saturday a Russian attack on the Black Sea Odesa port, a crucial water gate for grain export agreed upon less than 24 hours earlier by Moscow, triggering an international outcry.
“The enemy struck the Odesa Commercial Sea Port with Kalibar-type cruise missiles,” the Ukrinform website cited local authorities as saying. “Two missiles were shot down by air defense forces. Two hit the infrastructure facilities of the port”.
The attack is a “spit in the face of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and President of Turkiye Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” the Ukrainian government said.
Kyiv also accused Russia of undermining the UN-backed landmark deal signed on Friday in Istanbul to resume grain exports via the Black Sea to alleviate global food shortages.
The agreement allows cargo ships to export around 22 million tons of wheat, corn and other grains stored in silos from three key Ukrainian ports – Odesa, Pivdennyi and Chornomorsk.
“It took less than 24 hours for Russia to launch a missile attack on Odesa’s port, breaking its promises and undermining its commitments before the UN and Türkiye under the Istanbul agreement,” the Ukrainian foreign ministry’s spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Twitter.
“In case of non-fulfillment, Russia will bear full responsibility for global food crisis,” he added.
Guterres “unequivocally condemns” the attack in a statement issued by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
“Yesterday, all parties made clear commitments on the global stage to ensure the safe movement of Ukrainian grain and related products to global markets,” the statement said.
“These products are desperately needed to address the global food crisis and ease the suffering of millions of people in need around the globe. Full implementation by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Türkiye is imperative,” it added.
Meanwhile, United States ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink called the attack “outrageous” in a Twitter post.
“Russia strikes the port city of Odesa less than 24 hours after signing an agreement to allow shipments of agricultural exports. The Kremlin continues to weaponize food. Russia must be held to account,” Brink tweeted.
EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell also condemned the attack.
“Striking a target crucial for grain export a day after the signature of Istanbul agreements is particularly reprehensible & again demonstrates Russia’s total disregard for international law & commitments,” he said. EFE