UN humanitarian chief in Ukraine condemns ‘brutal and relentless’ attacks at ports — Global Issues

“There has been almost an attack every two days on vital port and grain facilities in Ukraine,” resident and humanitarian coordinator Denise Brown said Wednesday.

Assault on grain exports

A Russian drone attack damaged infrastructure at Ukrainian grain export facilities on the Danube on Wednesday.

Ukrainian officials say buildings including grain warehouses, oil storage tanks and administrative buildings were destroyed.

The UN, citing port authorities, noted that this tragic event left at least six people injured. No deaths were immediately reported.

“Extremely alarming”

“It is extremely alarming to learn that Ukraine’s two Danube ports have once again been hit in nighttime Russian attacks on the Odessa region,” Brown added.

It is the latest Russian attack on Ukrainian port and grain facilities since Moscow abandoned the U.N.-brokered deal that allowed Ukraine to safely export grain via the Black Sea.

“Today’s strike on Ukrainian ports is the 21st such strike since Russia’s decision to end the Black Sea Initiative less than two months ago,” Brown said.

“It’s shocking, but since July 17, there has been almost an attack every two days on vital port and grain facilities in Ukraine.”

Withdrawal from the grain deal

The grain initiative was launched in July 2022 between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN. It enabled the export of more than 32 million tonnes of cereals.

But in mid-July, Russia withdrew from the Initiative, arguing that agricultural exporters were not benefiting as envisaged by the agreement and the separate memorandum of understanding.

Since then, only a handful of ships, none of which were carrying grain, have been allowed to leave Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, according to media reports.

Ukraine is a major global supplier of cereals such as sunflower oil, corn and wheat.

The war has caused global food prices to soar and is creating food shortages in Africa and the Middle East. Both import large quantities of food from Ukraine.

Attack pattern

“The consequences of this series of brutal and relentless Russian attacks are catastrophic for the Ukrainian people and for the 345 million people facing hunger around the world,” Brown warned.

According to media reports, the governor of the Odessa region, which includes the Danube ports, said that 105 port infrastructure in Ukraine had been damaged and partially destroyed since July 18, the day after Russia’s withdrawal from the Initiative of the Black Sea.

“International humanitarian law strictly prohibits attacks against civilian infrastructure. This must stop,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator.


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