It has been some time now that the Russian word no longer has any value in the minds of Ukrainians. However, on Saturday morning, confidence in the honesty of Kremlin leaders plunged to an abyssal depth. Only nineteen hours after the signing of the Istanbul agreement on securing grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports, the Russian fleet fired four cruise missiles in the direction of Odessa, a city in the heart of the agreement signed the day before.
Two of the Kalibr-type projectiles, fired from Crimea, were intercepted by anti-aircraft defense, two others fell on port facilities.
The testimony of a resident
The air alert went off in the city around 11:05 a.m., before a first explosion sounded five minutes later. “It was quite strong, I was in a room with closed windows and the curtains shook,” says Julia Kovalenko, an Odessite who lives about two kilometers from the port. “Then, for two minutes, I heard two or three explosions, a little weaker [sans doute l’interception dans le ciel par la défense antiaérienne, ndlr]she continues, then suddenly, a minute later, there was a very strong explosion, the vibration went through all the walls and I felt like everything was shaking, including my dress, like under the effect of a gust of wind.
An “act of spitting in the face”
“The strike was carried out exactly where the grain is, we see there what the agreements with a terrorist country are worth”, commented Saturday at midday Yuriy Ignat, spokesman for the command of the Ukrainian Air Forces. Although the risk of an amphibious landing has been ruled out for the moment, this is not the first time that Odessa has been hit by missiles; but this time the shock wave spread even faster in Kyiv. “The Russian missile strike on Odessa is Putin’s spat in the face of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” said Oleg Nikolenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
“It took less than 24 hours for Russia to launch a missile attack on the port of Odessa, thereby breaking its promises and undermining the commitments made to the UN and Turkey under the Istanbul agreement , continued the diplomat. We call on the UN and Turkey to ensure that Russia honors its commitments regarding the safe operation of the grain corridor. If the agreements reached are not respected, Russia will bear full responsibility for the aggravation of the world food crisis.”
The day before, however, it was the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, who had affixed the Russian signature to the double mirror agreement between Ukrainians, Turks and UN on one side, and Russians, Turks and UN on the other. .
A “diplomatic dichotomy”
The agreement negotiated for two months stipulated the securing of grain transit facilities on Ukrainian soil, but Russia immediately torpedoed the agreement. On Saturday, Andriy Yermak, the very influential head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, the second brain of Volodymyr Zelensky, evokes a “Russian diplomatic dichotomy”. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he “unequivocally condemns” the attacks on the port of Odessa, adding that “the full implementation [de l’accord] by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Turkey is imperative”. The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, denounced “Russia’s total disregard for international law and commitments”.