Ukraine war: Russia offers reassurances over grain exports amid uncertainty over deal following missile attack

Less than a day after Russia and Ukraine signed a deal to protect grain exports, Russia bombed a key Ukrainian port throwing the whole agreement into doubt.

Pic: AP
Image:A farmer collects harvest on a field around a crater left by a Russian rocket. Pic: AP

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Russia has given reassurances about global grain stocks after fears the supply chain could be thrown into chaos following missile strikes on a key Ukrainian city.

Russia and Ukraine signed a landmark deal last week allowing grain exports to resume from Black Sea ports after they were blockaded by Vladimir Putin’s forces.

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The deal, which was also signed by the UN and Turkey at the ceremony in Istanbul, raised hopes an international food crisis aggravated by the Russian invasion could be eased.

But less than 24 hours later, the port city of Odesa was hit by a missile strike, described by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as “barbarism”.

He said Russia could not be trusted to implement the deal, and global importers feared stocks were again hanging in the balance.


However, during a visit to Cairo in Egypt, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered reassurances.

At a news conference following a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, Mr Lavrov said he had “reaffirmed the commitment of Russian grain exporters to meet all their commitments”.

He added: “We discussed specific parameters of cooperation in this area, agreed on further contacts between the relevant ministries, and we have a common understanding of the causes of the grain crisis.”

Egypt is one of the world’s top wheat importers and last year bought about 80% of those imports from Russia and Ukraine.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, a blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia’s Black Sea fleet has trapped tens of millions of tonnes of grain, disrupted shipments, sped up a rise in global commodity prices and worsened global supply chain bottlenecks.

Ukraine is pressing ahead with efforts to restart its grain exports – but has warned deliveries would suffer if the Russian missile strike on Odesa was a sign of more to come.

Ukraine estimates it could export 60 million tonnes of grain in eight to nine months if its ports are not blockaded.

The United Nations, the EU, the US, Britain, Germany, and Italy condemned the strikes.

Russia, meanwhile, said its forces had hit legitimate military targets – a Ukrainian warship and a weapons store in Odesa – with high-precision missiles.

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