Russia and Ukraine agreed Friday to restart grain exports from Ukraine after a months-long blockade that fueled a growing global food crisis — but an attack on the port of Odessa on Saturday immediately cast doubt on Moscow’s commitment to the deal.
Ukraine and Russia are among the world’s top producers of grain, cooking oil and fertilizers. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent prices skyrocketing and caused shortages of food staples around the world.
The deal, which consists of two agreements brokered by the United Nations and facilitated by Turkey, was a major diplomatic achievement after world leaders and humanitarian organizations had sounded the alarm for months about rising hunger, especially in the Middle East and Africa.
But the missile strikes on port infrastructure in Odessa less than a day later drew condemnation from U.S., U.N. and Ukrainian officials, who accused Russia of jeopardizing the agreement. Experts also warned that the resumption of Ukraine’s grain exports alone would not solve the growing global food crisis.