Tuesday, 16 August, 2022

Odessa strikes should not hamper grain exports: Kremlin

Odessa strikes should not hamper grain exports: Kremlin

MOSCOW: The Kremlin said Monday that Russian strikes on Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odessa "should not affect" a UN-brokered deal between Moscow and Kyiv to unblock grain exports.

"This cannot and should not affect the start of shipment," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, two days after Moscow hit the port.

He said Moscow's strikes targeted "exclusively" military infrastructure and were "not connected with the agreement on the export of grain."

The weekend strikes on Odessa came less than a day after Moscow and Kyiv signed a landmark deal to release grain exports from Ukraine's ports, reports AFP.

Western countries denounced the move, with the US saying it cast "serious doubt" on Russia's commitment to the deal.

Turkey, which helped broker the accord, said after the double cruise missile hits that it had received assurances from Moscow that Russian forces were not responsible.

But Russia then admitted that it had struck a Ukrainian military vessel and arms delivered by Washington.

Ukraine has denounced the strikes as "barbarism."

Odessa is one of three export hubs designated in the agreement.

Ukrainian officials said grain was being stored in the port at the time of the strike, although the food stocks did not appear to have been hit.