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Russian attacks on port infrastructure in Odesa Oblast have destroyed 60,000 tons of grain, according to Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi on July 19.
"This is a terrorist act not against Ukraine, but against the whole world," he stated. "If we cannot export food, then the population of the poorest countries will be on the verge of survival."
Solskyi referred to destruction in the port of Chornomorsk, an important Black Sea export hub to the south of the city of Odesa. The area came under heavy Russian strikes during the previous night, Governor Oleh Kiper reported, with air defense shooting down eight drones and at least one missile.
It was the second consecutive strike against Odesa in the past two days. On July 18, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov referred to the attacks as retaliation for the explosions that damaged the Crimean Bridge on July 17.
The strikes are not the only Russian act that threatens grain supply worldwide. Russia dealt a significant blow to global food security on July 17 by announcing its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The deal, brokered by Turkey and the U.N. in July 2022, allowed Ukraine to continue exporting its agricultural products through the Black Sea during the full-scale invasion.
Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain suppliers and the agreement has played a crucial role in stabilizing food prices around the world amid a surge caused, in part, by Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has called Russia's withdrawal from the deal "blackmail."
On July 19 he said that the military had been instructed to strengthen the security of ports following the Russian strikes against Odesa and elsewhere.
During a press conference with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Kyiv, Zelensky said that Ukraine needs additional SAMP-T or Patriot air defense systems to protect the city.