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Zelensky says Ukraine plans response to Russian strikes, unblocking grain corridor

by Martin Fornusek July 24, 2023 9:04 PM 2 min read
A Russian missile struck the historic Transfiguration Cathedral on July 23, 2023 in Odesa, Ukraine.
A Ukrainian worker examines damage after a Russian missile struck the historic Transfiguration Cathedral on July 23, 2023 in central Odesa, Ukraine. (Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images)
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Ukraine is considering a response to Russian strikes against grain infrastructure and cultural heritage sites, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on July 24 after the meeting of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief's Staff.

The military and security leadership further discussed ways to unblock the Black Sea grain corridor and the planning of defensive and offensive operations, the president added.

Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17, effectively terminating the deal that allowed Ukraine to export its agricultural products amid the ongoing full-scale invasion.

Ukraine is one of the world's leading grain producers and exporters. The agreement, brokered by Turkey and the U.N. in July 2022, has played a crucial role in stabilizing food prices worldwide.

After the termination of the deal, both Ukraine and Russia declared that vessels sailing to the ports of their opponent will be treated as carriers of military cargo.

According to the U.K. Defense Ministry's intelligence report, the Russian blockade will likely be at risk of Ukrainian surface drones and cruise missiles.

Russian forces launched sustained drone and missile attacks against the port city of Odesa shortly after the deal's collapse, targeting agricultural infrastructure and stockpiles.

The strikes also hit Odesa's historical center, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site earlier this year. Dozens of historical buildings, including the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Moscow Patriarchate's Ukrainian branch, have been damaged in the attacks.

Russian missile attack destroys historic cathedral in Odesa
Russian missile strikes on Odesa the night of July 23 caused significant damage to the city’s historic Transfiguration Cathedral, the Odesa city administration reported via Telegram.
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