Russian missiles struck Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odesa on Saturday, the Ukrainian military said, a day after the two countries agreed on a deal to allow the resumption of grain shipments blocked by the conflict.
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said the strikes on the key grain-exporting port were a "spit in the face" of Turkey and the United Nations, which mediated the deal that could ease a food crisis triggered by soaring commodity prices.
Two missiles hit the port's infrastructure, the Ukrainian military said. No grain storage facilities were hit in Odesa, the Associated Press reported, citing Southern Command spokeswoman Nataliya Humenyuk. But Turkey's defense minister said he had spoken with Ukrainian authorities and one missile had struck a grain silo and another landed nearby but neither affected loading at Odesa's docks, according to the report.
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the missile attacks. "The Secretary General unequivocally condemns reported strikes today in the Ukrainian port of Odesa," his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed the denunciation of the attacks in a statement, while John Kirby, U.S. National Security Council spokesman, said the deal's success was "going to depend on Russia's compliance" with the agreement.
Ukraine's infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, said after the strikes on the port that his country would continue to prepare for the resumption of grain exports.
Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement Friday to ensure the safety of vessels carrying grain, with passage through the Black Sea blocked due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine that began five months ago.
At the four-way meeting including the United Nations and Turkey, the two sides agreed to establish a joint coordination center to ensure the safety of corridors to Ukrainian harbors and check ships traveling through Turkish ports for weapons. Russia and Ukraine were also barred from attacking any commercial or civilian vessels traveling in the Black Sea.
Over 22 million tons of grain has piled up in Ukraine, a leading exporter of agricultural products, according to a U.S. think tank.