Russia: Airstrike Hours After Deal Is Completely Legit

Moscow insists it only went after military targets in Ukrainian port city of Odesa
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 24, 2022 9:50 AM CDT
Russia: Airstrike Hours After Deal Is Completely Legit
Smoke rises in the air after shelling in Odesa, Ukraine, Saturday, July 16, 2022.   (AP Photo/Nina Lyashonok)

(Newser) – Russian defense ministry officials on Sunday insisted that an airstrike on the port of Odesa—less than a day after Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement on resuming grain shipments from there—had hit only military targets, per the AP. “Long-range missiles destroyed a docked Ukrainian warship and a warehouse with Harpoon anti-ship missiles supplied by the US to the Kyiv regime,” said ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly televised address Saturday that the attack on Odesa “destroyed the very possibility” of dialogue with Russia.

It was not immediately clear how the airstrike would affect plans to resume shipping Ukrainian grain by sea in safe corridors out of three Ukrainian Black Sea ports: Odesa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny. The Ukrainian military said Moscow had attacked Odesa’s sea port with four cruise missiles, two of which had been shot down by Ukrainian air defense. Command spokeswoman Nataliya Humenyuk said that no grain storage facilities were hit. Turkey’s defense minister, however, said he had had reports from Ukrainian authorities that one missile struck a grain silo while another landed nearby, although neither affected loading at Odesa’s docks.

Russia and Ukraine on Friday signed identical agreements with the UN and Turkey in Istanbul aimed at clearing the way for the shipment of millions of tons of desperately needed Ukrainian grain, as well as the export of Russian grain and fertilizer. Senior UN officials voiced hopes that the deal would end a months-long standoff brought about by the war in Ukraine that threatened food security around the globe. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials as his country seeks to break diplomatic isolation and sanctions by the West over its invasion of Ukraine.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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