World leaders denounce Putin’s attack on Odessa over maritime corridor deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs the meeting of the supervisory board of the presidential forum ‘Russia – Land of Opportunities’ at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, April 20, 2022.

Mikhail Tereshchenko | sputnik | via Reuters

WASHINGTON — World leaders quickly condemned the Russian missile strike on a Ukrainian port, a dramatic revelation amid a UN-brokered deal that secured a sea corridor for grain and other food exports.

The day before, representatives of the UN, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine had signed an agreement to reopen three Ukrainian ports, an apparent breakthrough as the Kremlin’s war against its former Soviet neighbor enters its fifth month.

The agreement, signed in Istanbul and expected to be implemented in the coming weeks, follows a months-long blockade of dozens of Ukrainian ports scattered along the Sea of ​​Azov and the Black Sea.

The strike in Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port, illustrates another anxious turn in failed efforts to alleviate a growing global food crisis.

A general view shows a fire truck at the scene of a burning building after a shelling, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues at a designated location as Odessa, Ukraine, in this photo obtained from from social media published on July 19, 2022.

National Emergency Service of Ukraine | via Reuters

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Russia “no predictable value” in the aftermath of the attack.

“The ink hasn’t had time to dry, yet there are two vile provocations: the attack on a seaport in Odessa and a statement by the Russian Ministry of Defense that Ukrainian ports are ‘dangerous for navigation,” Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter.

“It wasn’t even 24 hours before these grain terminals, the territory of Odessa and the port were hit,” Zelenskyy told a US delegation of lawmakers visiting Ukraine.

Among those visiting Zelenskyy, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said Russian President Vladimir Putin “violated the spirit of this agreement with more missile strikes.”

“He just can’t be trusted,” Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote in a statement.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States strongly condemns the Russian missile attack and said Russia bears responsibility for the worsening global food crisis.

The attack “undermines the work of the UN, Turkey and Ukraine to get essential foodstuffs to world markets,” Blinken said in a statement.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “unequivocally” condemned the missile strike on the port.

“Complete implementation [of the deal] by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Turkey is imperative,” the UN chief wrote.

Bridget Brink, President Joe Biden’s ambassador to Ukraine, urged the global community to hold Russia to account.

“The Kremlin continues to weaponize food. Russia must be held accountable,” Brink wrote on Twitter.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called the Russian missile strike on Odessa “reprehensible”.

“Hitting a crucial grain export target in the aftermath of the Istanbul Accords is particularly reprehensible, again demonstrating Russia’s utter disregard for international law and commitments,” Borrell wrote on Twitter. .

Celebrity Spanish chef and restaurateur Jose Andres, who brought his humanitarian organization to Ukraine to ease Russia’s war-triggered food crisis, also criticized the missile strikes on Odessa.

“Why are you attacking grain that needs to be exported? Why? Please stop and feed the world,” wrote the Michelin-starred chef and founder of World Central Kitchen, a group dedicated to feeding vulnerable communities. .

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said the missile strikes were “all you need to know about deals with Russia”.

“Today Russian missiles hit the port of Odessa. This is all you need to know about the agreements with Russia. The world must help Ukraine fight the aggressor,” he said. she writes.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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