Russia says missiles sank Ukrainian warship in Odessa port strikes

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Russia said Sunday that its missile barrage on a Ukrainian port key to a freshly-inked grain export deal had targeted military infrastructure at the facility, after the attack sparked an outcry from Ukraine and its allies.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced Saturday’s strike on the Odessa port — that came just one day after the warring sides struck a deal to resume exports blocked by the conflict — as “Russian barbarism”.

But Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman appeared to roll back on that denial Sunday, saying the strikes had destroyed a Ukrainian warship.

The port attack has thrown into doubt the milestone agreement aimed at relieving a global food crisis that was hammered out over months of negotiations and signed in Istanbul.

“This apparent Russian barbarism brings us even closer to obtaining the very weapons we need for our victory,” Zelensky said in a late-night address to the nation.

– Mykolaiv attacks –

Guterres — who presided over the signing ceremony Friday — “unequivocally” condemned the attack. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the “reprehensible” strikes showed Russia’s disregard for its commitments.

Until Zakharova’s claims Sunday, there was no response from Moscow, but Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Russia had denied carrying out the attack.

The Odessa region’s governor, Maksym Marchenko, said the strikes left people wounded and damaged port infrastructure in Odessa, without specifying the number or severity of the injuries.

Ukraine at the signing warned it would conduct “an immediate military response” should Russia violate the accord and attack its ships or stage an incursion around its ports.

The deal includes points on running Ukrainian grain ships along safe corridors that avoid known mines in the Black Sea.

Zelensky has said around 20 million tonnes of produce from last year’s harvest and the current crop would be exported under the agreement, estimating the value of Ukraine’s grain stocks at around $10 billion.

The agreement in Istanbul has brought little reprieve on the battlefield where Russian forces were carrying out bombardments across the sprawling front line over the weekend, Ukraine’s presidency said Sunday.

burs-jbr/raz

Originally published as Russia says missiles sank Ukrainian warship in Odessa port strikes


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