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Russian attacks on Ukraine's Black Sea Coast are hitting ports that contain more than a million tons of food, Ukrainian representative Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk told the OSCE Permanent Council on July 20.
During the meeting in Vienna, Tsymbaliuk called on the international community to ensure the grain could be exported "to protect the most vulnerable populations around the world."
Tsymbaliuk added that saving Ukraine's grain exports would "ensure that Russia's criminal tactics of food blackmailing fail."
Russian attacks have already destroyed 60,000 tons of grain stored in ports in Odesa Oblast on July 19. Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi stated that the strikes were "a terrorist act not against Ukraine, but against the whole world."
Most Ukrainian grain exports go to countries in Africa and Asia.
The port city of Odesa has faced three days of consecutive strikes against its infrastructure. President Volodymyr Zelensky said on July 19 that the military had been instructed to strengthen the security of ports following the Russian strikes.
The attacks come after Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17. First brokered in 2022, the deal allowed Ukraine to export its grain even during the ongoing full-scale invasion.
The Russian government warned that as of July 20, all ships sailing toward Ukrainian ports will be regarded as military targets. In response, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on July 20 that from midnight of July 21, all vessels on the Black Sea heading toward Russian or Russia-occupied ports will be treated as carrying military cargo "with all associated risks."
The White House claimed that Moscow considers attacking civilian ships on the Black Sea and putting the blame on Ukraine.
The EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell said on July 20 that Russian attacks against Odesa's port infrastructure and deliberate destruction of food stocks will lead to a large-scale food crisis.