Ukraine ready to resume grain exports despite strike on Odesa

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Russia claims its forces hit a military boat

Ukraine pressed ahead on Sunday with efforts to restart grain exports from Odesa and other Black Sea ports after a missile attack that cast doubt over whether Russia would honour a deal aimed at easing global food shortages caused by the war.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy denounced the strikes on Odesa as blatant “barbarism” that showed Moscow could not be trusted to implement Friday’s deal, mediated by Turkey and the United Nations.

However, a government minister said preparations to resume grain shipments were ongoing. Public broadcaster Suspilne quoted the Ukrainian military as saying the missiles had not significantly damaged the port.

Russia said on Sunday its forces had hit a Ukrainian military boat in Odesa with missiles.

The deal signed by Moscow and Kyiv was hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough that would help curb soaring global food prices, but as the war entered its sixth month on Sunday there was no sign of a let-up in the fighting.

While the main theatre of combat has been the eastern region of Donbas, Zelenskiy said in video posted late on Saturday that Ukrainian forces were moving “step by step” into the occupied eastern Black Sea region of Kherson.

Ukraine’s military on Sunday reported Russian shelling in numerous locations in the north, south and east, and again referred to Russian operations paving the way for an assault on Bakhmut in the Donbas.

The country’s air force command said that it had shot down three Kalibr cruise missiles launched on Sunday morning by the Russian forces from the Black Sea and aimed at the western Khmelnytskiy region.

 

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