KYIV: Ukraine continued its attempts on Sunday to resume grain exports from its Black Sea ports in accordance with a deal aimed at easing global food shortages, but warned that delivery would suffer if Russia’s strike on Odesa was a harbinger of more to come.
The attack on Saturday was condemned by President Volodymyr Zelensky as “barbarism,” demonstrating that Moscow could not be relied upon to carry out a pact reached just one day prior with Turkish and UN intervention.
The Ukrainian military was quoted by public television Suspilne as claiming after the attack that the missiles did not hit the port’s grain storage area or cause major damage and that preparations were being made to restore grain shipments.
Oleksandr Kubrakov, the infrastructure minister, wrote on Facebook on Saturday, “We continue technical preparations for the start of exports of agricultural products through our ports.”
The agreement reached by Moscow and Kyiv on Friday were hailed as a diplomatic success that would help lower the skyrocketing price of food around the world. According to UN officials, it may bring back Ukrainian grain exports to pre-war rates of 5 million tonnes per month.
On Sunday, though, Zelensky’s economic advisor issued a warning that the strike in Odesa may have put that goal out of reach. Oleh Ustenko said on Ukrainian television that the strike from yesterday “indicates that it will definitely not operate like that.”It would reach up to 24 months, he claimed, even though Ukraine has the potential to export 60 billion tons of grain over the ensuing nine months.