Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s southern port of Odesa on Saturday, the Ukrainian military said, threatening a landmark deal signed just the day before to unblock grain exports from Black Sea ports and ease global food shortages caused by the war.
MORE ON THE ODESA STRIKE
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the strike showed Moscow could not be trusted to implement the deal. However, public broadcaster Suspilne quoted the Ukrainian military as saying the missiles had not caused significant damage and a government minister said preparations continued to restart grain exports from the country’s Black Sea ports.
* Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said: “The Russian missile is Vladimir Putin’s spit in the face of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who went to great lengths to reach an agreement and to whom Ukraine is grateful.”
* Turkey’s defense minister said Russian officials had told Ankara that Moscow had “nothing to do” with the strikes on Odesa. A Russian defense ministry statement on Saturday outlining progress in the war did not mention any strike in Odesa. The ministry did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.
* A U.N. spokesperson said that “The Secretary-General (Antonio Guterres) unequivocally condemns reported strikes today in the Ukrainian port of Odesa. Yesterday, all parties made clear commitments on the global stage to ensure the safe movement of Ukrainian grain and related products to global markets.”
* Ukraine struck a bridge in the occupied Black Sea region of Kherson, targeting a Russian supply route as Kyiv prepares for a major counter-offensive, a Ukrainian regional official said.
* The deputy head of the Russian-installed regional authority said the bridge had been hit by seven rockets from Western-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), but that the bridge still worked, Russia’s TASS news agency said.
* Three people were killed when 13 Russian missiles hit a military airfield and railway infrastructure in Ukraine’s central region of Kirovohrad on Saturday, the regional governor said.
Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield reports.
* Washington is exploring whether it can send U.S.-made fighter jets to Ukraine, although this would not be done immediately, a White House spokesman said on Friday.
* The European Union is seeking additional gas supplies from Nigeria as the bloc prepares for potential Russian supply cuts, Matthew Baldwin, deputy director general of the European Commission’s energy department, said.
* Ukraine has around $10 billion worth of grain available for sale in the wake of the deal signed with Russia to unblock supplies, and will also have a chance to sell the current harvest, Zelenskiy said on Friday.
* A number of insurance underwriters are interested in providing cover for grain shipments from Ukraine after the agreement to reopen Black Sea ports although details need to be worked out, a senior London marine insurance market official said on Friday. (Compiled by William Mallard and Frances Kerry)