Russian rockets slammed into the Ukrainian city of Odessa Saturday, just one day after signing an agreement to allow grain exports to flow out of the Black Sea port.
At least two missiles landed in Ukraine’s third-largest city, damaging infrastructure at the port, while another two were shot down, CNN reported, citing a spokesman for the Odessa military administration.
The strike appeared to violate the UN-brokered deal between Russia and Ukraine that was signed in Istanbul on Friday. The terms of the agreement specified that both countries would refrain from attacks on ports or civilian grain transport ships, according to a draft obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
“This is all you have to know about “agreements” with the Russians. Explosions in the seaport of #Odesa. One day after the agreement with #Turkey and #UN was signed re-export of #Ukraine’s #grain under which #Russia has committed not to shell the port,” Ukraine parliament member Solomiia Bobrovska tweeted.
A grain storage warehouse, as well as a rail car discharging point, were reportedly destroyed in the blast.
“It took less than 24 hours for Russia to launch a missile attack on Odesa’s port, breaking its promises and undermining its commitments before the UN and Türkiye under the Istanbul agreement. In case of non-fulfillment, Russia will bear full responsibility for global food crisis,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said in a tweet after the attack.
In addition to Odessa, Russian long-range missiles hit a military airport and a railway station deep behind the front lines. Andriy Raikovych, head of the country’s Kirovohrad region said the strikes had left at least three dead and 13 wounded.
The Ukrainians are banking on US-made military equipment to help turn the tide.
“Thank you [President Biden] for the new defense aid package for Ukraine. Critically important, powerful arms will save our soldiers’ lives, speed up the liberation of our land from the Russian aggressor. I appreciate the strategic friendship between our nations. Together to victory!,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a tweet Saturday.
The latest package of military and humanitarian support for Ukraine includes four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, also known as HIMARS, Secretary of Defense Llyod Austin said Wednesday. This brings the total of HIMARS in the nation supplied by the US to 16.