Türkiye ’concerned’ after missile attack on Odessa port

Türkiye ’concerned’ after missile attack on Odessa port

Türkiye ’concerned’ after missile attack on Odessa port

Türkiye said it was "concerned" by Russian strikes on the Ukrainian port of Odessa on July 22, a day after Moscow and Kyiv penned a deal sponsored by Ankara and the U.N. to resume grain exports.

"The fact that an incident like this happened after the agreement we made yesterday... really makes us concerned," Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.

'Russia denies any attack on Odessa,' the minister added. 

Russian missiles struck Ukraine’s key Black Sea port of Odessa on July 23, Ukrainian officials said.

Two cruise missiles hit terminal infrastructure, regional authorities said on social media, casting a shadow over the landmark agreement hammered out over months of negotiations aimed at relieving a global food crisis caused by stalled deliveries that sent wheat prices tumbling.

The first major accord between the countries since the February invasion of Ukraine aims to ease the "acute hunger" that the United Nations says faces an additional 47 million people because of the war.

"The enemy attacked the Odessa sea port with Kalibr cruise missiles. Two of the missiles were shot down by air defences. Two hit port infrastructure," Sergiy Bratchuk, a representative of the Odessa region said in a statement on social media.

The hostility between Moscow and Kyiv had spilled over into Friday’s signing ceremony in Istanbul - delayed briefly by disputes about the display of flags around the table and Ukraine’s refusal to put its name on the same document as the Russians.

Ukraine had entered the ceremony by bluntly warning that it would conduct "an immediate military response" should Russia violate the agreement and attack its ships or stage an incursion around its ports.

'Türkiye determined to continue diplomatic efforts'

The two sides eventually inked separate but identical agreements in the presence Antonio Guterres and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace.

'Türkiye will make substantial contribution to overcoming global food crisis in coming days, with shipment of grain,' President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 23 in a ceremony. 

Türkiye is determined to continue diplomatic efforts until peace is established between Russia snd Ukraine, he added. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the responsibility for enforcing the deal would fall to the U.N., which along with Turkey is a co-guarantor of the agreement.

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

Huge quantities of wheat and other grain have been blocked in Ukrainian ports by Russian warships and landmines Kyiv has laid to avert a feared amphibious assault.

Zelensky said that 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.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Kremlin state media he expected the deal to start working "in the next few days" although diplomats expect grain to only start fully flowing by mid-August.

The United States, Britain and the European Union hailed the Istanbul agreement while urging Moscow to abide by its rules.

Global alarm about grain has been accompanied by European fears that Russia is starting to use its stranglehold on energy exports as a geopolitical weapon in its standoff with the West.

The grain deal was signed one day after Russia’s restart of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline eased concerns in Europe of a permanent shut off after a 10-day maintenance suspension.

Analysts say the partial resumption of gas supplies was insufficient to ward off energy shortages in Europe this winter.

Historic deals for grain corridor signed in Istanbul
Historic deals for grain corridor signed in Istanbul


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