UN ‘unequivocally condemns’ Russia’s strikes on Odesa port
By Caitlin McFall
July 22, 2022
U.S. and Ukrainian authorities on Saturday accused Russian forces of attacking the port city of Odesa one day after a deal was signed to allow safe passage of grain exports.
“The enemy attacked Odesa seaport with Caliber cruise missiles. Two missiles were shot down by air defense forces. Two hit the port’s infrastructure facilities,” head of Odesa Regional Military Administration, Serhiy Bratchuk, said on Telegram.
It is unclear at this time if anyone was hurt in the strikes.
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink condemned the attack and called it “outrageous.”
“Russia strikes the port city of Odesa less than 24 hours after signing an agreement to allow shipments of agricultural exports,” she said on Twitter. “The Kremlin continues to weaponize food. Russia must be held to account.”
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said, “Russia will bear full responsibility for the global food crisis.”
“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 Turkey under the Istanbul agreement,” he said.
Officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations sealed an agreement Friday to allow merchant ships to transport urgently needed food supplies through the Black Sea amid the global food crisis.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres championed the deal as an “agreement for the world” as developing nations grapple with food shortages and famine following a five-month-long blockade over Black Sea ports.
Guterres was light on specifics involved in the agreement, but said three Ukrainian ports, including Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny, would be opened to allow for “significant volumes” of food exports.
But on Saturday a spokesperson for the UN told Fox News Digital, “The Secretary-General unequivocally condemns reported strikes today in the Ukrainian port of Odesa.”
“All parties made clear commitments on the global stage to ensure the safe movement of Ukrainian grain and related products to global markets. These products are desperately needed,” the spokesman added. “Full implementation by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Turkey is imperative.”
Details regarding a preliminary agreement suggested the treaty would require Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pledge to uphold a cease-fire so Ukrainian naval vessels can escort merchant ships.
The Ukrainian vessels would guide the merchant ships by first sweeping the mine-infested waters on their way to Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait.
But while officials applauded the negotiations, several questioned whether Russia would actually respect the terms of the agreement.
Victoria Nuland, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the State Department, welcomed the news Friday but said, “This came together because I think Russia ultimately felt the hot breath of global opprobrium.”
“It’s now incumbent on Russia to actually implement this deal,” she said from the Aspen Security Forum.
And speaking to Fox News Digital before the treaty was signed Friday, former intelligence officer in Russian doctrine and strategy for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Rebekah Koffler, said, “Even if the deal is signed, the Russians will likely not live up to its proper implementation.”
“There’s a reason why Putin, in addition to missiles, uses energy, and now food, as weapons, not only during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but also as part of Russia’s broader geopolitical and security strategy,” she added. “Russia will use this deal as leverage to try to extort concessions from the West. This is standard Putin’s playbook.”
Turkey has yet to publicly comment on the strikes.