On Friday, following its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Russia launched attacks on port infrastructure and storage buildings in Ukraine’s Odesa region. Additionally, Russia implemented a Black Sea blockade.
Regional Governor of Odessa Oleh Kiper said that “In the attack on the storage site, two low-flying cruise missiles started a blaze, then another struck during firefighting efforts”. He further added that the barrage resulted in two injuries, equipment damage, and the destruction of 100 metric tons of peas and 20 metric tons of barley.
Moscow declared that it aimed at the vital Ukrainian grain export infrastructure as a retaliatory measure for a Ukrainian attack on a crucial bridge connecting Russia and the Crimean Peninsula.
Both Russia and Ukraine have issued warnings that ships heading to each other’s Black Sea ports will be treated as potential military targets.
The Russian foreign ministry stated that incoming vessels would be regarded as carrying weapons and affiliating with the conflict on the Ukrainian side.
“There is no longer a sea humanitarian corridor, there is a zone of increased military danger,” Russian Deputy FM Sergei Vershinin told a news briefing.
Earlier this week UN Secretary-General in his official statement said that “There is simply too much at stake in a hungry and hurting world.”:
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, managed by the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul and involving Russia, Türkiye, Ukraine, and the UN, was initially established for 120 days in July 2022. Subsequently, it was renewed every two months.