International : Zelensky accuses Russia of ‘barbarism’ over Odesa port attack
Kiev, July 24 : Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of “barbarism” over a missile attack on the Odesa port which took place just hours after a landmark grain export deal was signed between Kiev and Moscow.
Under Friday’s deal signed in Istanbul, Russia agreed not to target Ukrainian ports while grain shipments were in transit, the BBC reported.
But just hours after the agreement was signed, two Kalibr missiles hit the Odesa port, according to the Ukrainian military’s southern command centre.
Another two missiles were shot down by air defence systems, the centre added.
Russian officials have however said that Moscow had “nothing to do” with the attack.
During a meeting on Saturday in Kiev with a visiting delegation of US Congressmen, Zelensky said that Russia will find ways not to fulfil what it signs, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.
“This (attack) proves only one thing: no matter what Russia says and promises, it will find ways not to implement it. Geopolitically, with weapons, bloodily or not, but it has several vectors, as it always acts,” he said.
He also vowed to do everything possible to acquire air defence systems able to shoot down such missiles in the future.
The attack has been widely condemned.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of worsening a global food crisis, and said the attack cast “serious doubt” on the credibility of Russia’s commitment to the pact.
“Russia must stop its aggression and fully implement the grain deal to which it has agreed,” he said on Saturday.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on the UN and Turkey to ensure that Russia complies with its obligations under the terms of the safe functioning of the grain corridor.
On Friday, officials from Kiev and Moscow signed the deal to allow millions of tonnes of grain trapped in Ukraine to be exported, the BBC reported.
The agreement was hailed as a “beacon of hope” by the UN after months of fighting.
The deal, which took two months to reach, is set to last for 120 days, with a co-ordination and monitoring centre to be established in Istanbul, staffed by UN, Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian officials.
It can be renewed if both parties agree.