Ukrainian ports in Odesa will begin exporting grain despite the recent Russian missile attack that threatened to scuttle a deal to allow trade to resume, according to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
He said Ukraine is following through on allowing the exports to show the world that it won’t allow Russia to stop the supply of Ukrainian wheat, corn and barley that many in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere need.
"We trust Turkey and the United Nations with whom we signed relevant documents regarding the export of grain, and they were supposed to talk about the safety of the ships of other countries, which, by the way, agreed to transport grain — wheat, barley, corn," Zelenskyy said in a statement.
The Ukrainian leader argued Russia, on the other hand, showed its true attitude toward the agreement signed in Istanbul Friday by launching an attack Saturday on one of the ports loading grain for export.
"The whole world saw that even 24 hours hadn’t passed as shelling and missile strikes at the seaports of Ukraine began,” Zelenskyy said. “For our part, we have done everything, prepared everything, there is a corridor.”
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Russia at first denied being behind the missile strike on Odesa, but then admitted they did it and stressed that military targets had been hit. Reports out of Ukraine and Turkey said a grain silo and art museum were struck.
"These are the narratives that are spread today due to disinformation and fake information by the Russian side,” Zelenskyy said. “Therefore, we will start exporting, and let the partners take care of security."
Zelenskyy first railed against the missile attack that hit Odesa on Saturday as U.S. and UN leaders speculated that the deal to allow grain exports could be nullified.
"This proves only one thing: no matter what Russia says and promises, it will find ways not to implement it,” Zelenskyy said in a speech just hours after the attack on Odesa.
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