Ukraine’s president has described the missile strike in Odesa as “barbarism”, adding Russia cannot be trusted to implement the landmark deal agreed to resume grain exports from Black Sea ports.
Making his nightly address, Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the “cynical” attack as “barbarism”, adding it is a “blow to the political positions of Russia itself”.
“If anyone in the world could still say that some kind of dialogue with it, with Russia, some kind of agreements are needed, see what is happening,” he said.
“Today’s Russian Kalibr missiles have destroyed the very possibility for such statements. The occupiers can no longer deceive anyone.”
The president also addressed the attack during a meeting with US congressmen in Kyiv, telling them: “This proves only one thing: no matter what Russia says and promises, it will find ways not to implement it.”
The United Nations, European Union, US and UK all condemned the strikes on Saturday, with the UK’s prime ministerial hopeful Liz Truss describing the attack as “appalling”.
In a Ministry of Defence update on Sunday, Moscow claimed responsibility for the air strike.
“Attack launched by high-precision long-range sea-based missiles has resulted in the elimination of Ukrainian military ship and a depot of Harpoon anti-ship missiles delivered by USA to the Kyiv regime in the seaport of Odesa,” it said.
The statement added that a production facilities which specialise in repairing and modernising Ukraine’s Navy fleet have been “neutralised”.
Turkey’s defence minister said Russian officials had previously said told Ankara that Russia had “nothing to do” with the attack in Odesa.
On Friday, delegates from Russia and Ukraine signed a deal which would allow grain exports to resume after they were blockaded by Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Representatives from both countries declined to sit at the same table and the display of the two countries’ flags were adjusted so that they were no longer next to one another.
The deal, which was also signed by the UN and Turkey at the ceremony in Istanbul, raises hopes that an international food crisis aggravated by the Russian invasion can be eased.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Russia and Ukraine to fully implement the accord which opens the way to “significant volumes of commercial food exports” from three key Ukrainian ports – Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhne.
While the deal was a positive step in combating the global food crisis, Mr Zelenskyy’s economic adviser said it could take almost two years to export 60 million tonnes of grain from Ukraine if the ports don’t work but it would only take eight to nine months if the ports were unblocked.
He added that Ukraine would earn £10bn by selling 20 million tonnes of grain, which is currently being held in silos, as well as 40 million tonnes from the new harvest.
The blockade by Russia’s Black Sea fleet since it invaded its neighbour has cut off supplies to markets around the world and sent grain prices soaring.