Dutch Foreign Minister condemns attack on the Odessa port
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra condemned the apparent missile attack targeting the port of the Ukrainian city of Odessa. "Outrageous and unacceptable: A missile attack on the seaport of Odessa, just one day after signing the agreement in Istanbul," he wrote on Twitter.
Russia must be held accountable, Hoekstra said. He was responding to reports from the Ukrainian military which said that Russia used missiles in an attack on the port of Odessa on Saturday. The assault took place one day after Russia and Ukraine signed a a deal to resume grain exports through Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea.
According to the army, four cruise missiles were fired at the port. Two of them struck "port infrastructure", a local government official and a Ukrainian army unit said on Telegram. The two other missiles were shot down, according to the army. The Russian side had not responded to the attack by 4 p.m. CEST.
The Ukrainian government said in a response that President Vladimir Putin was "spitting in the face" of the United Nations and Turkey with the attack on Odessa, the two diplomatic parties which helped bring Kyiv and Moscow together to close the grain deal on Friday. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the UN and Turkey to ensure that Russia complies with the agreements.
UN chief António Guterres, who was present in Istanbul on Friday at the signing of the agreement, also strongly condemned the missile attack. A spokesperson said all parties agreed to allow grain exports from Ukrainian ports. The grain is also badly needed to tackle global food shortages, according to Guterres. "Full implementation by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Turkey is imperative."
Odessa is a crucial transit port for such grain exports. Russia and Ukraine together are responsible for about 30 percent of the world's wheat exports.
Earlier in the day, Hoekstra sent out a tweet in which he expressed his thanks to the United Nations and Turkey for their commitment to the grain deal between Russia and Ukraine. He called it "a good step forward" in tackling the food crisis.
"The Netherlands is ready to help where necessary," he said.