Updated Jul 23, 2022 - World

Russian missiles strike key Ukrainian port in Odesa the day after grain export deal

Barges are loaded with grain at Reni river port on the Danube River, in Odesa region, Ukraine, July 21. Photo: Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Russian missiles struck the Ukrainian port city of Odesa on the Black Sea on Saturday, a day after officials heralded a new deal meant to resume grain exports from the country as Moscow's invasion reaches the 150-day mark, AP reports.

Why it matters: The strikes on Ukraine’s largest port cast a pall over the deal Ukrainian, Russian, United Nations and Turkish officials reached in an effort to help ease a global food crisis that’s deepened as the conflict has worn on.

  • Two Russian cruise missiles struck the port’s infrastructure, AP reports. Ukrainian air defense systems stopped two others.
  • Ukrainian military officials in the region did not immediately report the extent of the damage or how many casualties the strikes caused.

What they’re saying: U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres "unequivocally condemns reported strikes today in the Ukrainian port of Odesa," a spokesperson for the secretary-general said Saturday, AFP reported.

  • "Full implementation [of the grain export deal] by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Turkey is imperative."
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also condemned the attack on Saturday, tweeting that the attack "undermines the effort to bring food to the hungry and the credibility of Russia’s commitments to the deal finalized yesterday to allow Ukrainian exports."

Catch up quick: Officials said the agreements Russia and Ukraine signed were crucial to easing a global food shortage, particularly in poorer nations.

  • The U.N. and Turkey brokered the deal, which will last 120 days.
  • The deal also stipulated that Russia can export grain and fertilizer in spite of Western sanctions.
  • Ukrainian officials said Friday that any Russian "provocations" stemming from the terms of the agreement would be met with "an immediate military response."

Go deeper: Russia and Ukraine sign deal to resume crucial grain exports

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