By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Russian missiles have hit infrastructure in Ukraine’s port of Odesa, a day after Russia and Ukraine signed a deal to reopen Black Sea ports, the Ukrainian military has said.
“The enemy attacked the Odesa sea trade port with Kalibr cruise missiles; two missiles were shot down by air defence forces; two hit the infrastructure of the port,” the Operational Command South wrote on Telegram on Saturday.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday brokered the agreement in a bid to resume grain exports and ease a global food crisis.
Odesa, the largest Ukrainian seaport and one of the largest ports in the Black Sea basin, has remained under Kyiv’s control, albeit being blockaded by Russia.
The signing of the deal on Friday – which includes Odesa as well as the ports of Yuzhne and Chornomorsk – has been hailed as a “beacon of hope” by the UN.
Russia has denied any involvement in the missile strikes on Odesa, Turkey said on Saturday.
“In our contact with Russia, the Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack and that they were examining the issue very closely and in detail,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusai Akar said in a statement.
“The fact that such an incident took place right after the agreement we made yesterday really worried us.”
Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yuriy Ignat said the missiles were fired from warships in the Black Sea near Crimea.
Russia and Ukraine are major global wheat suppliers and the war has sent food prices soaring. A global food crisis has pushed some 47 million people into “acute hunger”, according to the World Food Programme.
About $10bn worth of grain – roughly 20 million tonnes of last year’s harvest – are waiting to be exported.
Under the deal, a coalition of Turkish, Ukrainian and UN staff will monitor the loading of grain into vessels in Ukrainian ports before navigating a preplanned route through the Black Sea, which remains heavily mined by Ukrainian and Russian forces.