Ukraine accuses Russia of ‘deliberately targeting’ grain export infrastructure

Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine

In a night assault on July 19, 2023, Russian forces launched a series of missile attacks on Ukraine from the southern direction. Odesa Oblast was the main focus of the strikes.

The attack involved a total of 63 weapons deployed from air, ground, and naval platforms, according to the Ukrainian Air Force. The breakdown of the weapons used is as follows:

  • 16 Kalibr cruise missiles launched from naval platforms, possibly from the small missile ship “Ingushetia” and the frigate “Admiral Essen” in the Black Sea. 
  • 8 Kh-22 cruise missiles fired from Tu-22M3 long-range bombers operating over the Black Sea. 
  • 6 P-800 Oniks cruise missiles launched from the coastal missile complex “Bastion” in Crimea. 
  • 1 Kh-59 guided aviation missile fired from a Su-35 fighter jet operating over the Black Sea. 
  • 32 Iranian-made Shahed-136/131 kamikaze drones deployed from the Chauda range in Crimea and Primosko-Akhtarsk in Krasnodar Krai. 
Air Force Command of UA Armed Forces

    The Ukrainian Air Force’s anti-aircraft defense units reported the successful interception of 37 airborne threats, namely 13 Kalibr cruise missiles, the Kh-59 guided aviation missile, and 23 Shahed-136/131 drones. Noticeably, the Kh-22 and P-800 Oniks cruise missiles, the fastest of the weapons deployed, managed to evade interception. 

    60,000 tons of grain destroyed, according to the Ukrainian agriculture ministry

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the Russian military of having “deliberately targeted” sites used for grain export. 

    “Russian terrorists absolutely deliberately targeted the infrastructure of the grain agreement, and every Russian missile is a blow not only to Ukraine, but also to everyone in the world who seeks a normal and safe life,” Zelenskyy said in a Telegram post. 

    According to the Ukrainian agriculture ministry, 60,000 tons of grain meant for export and stored in the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, near Odesa, were destroyed. 

    “The grain infrastructure of international and Ukrainian traders and carriers Kernel, Viterra, CMA CGM Group was the most affected,” Ukraine’s agriculture minister Mykola Solskyi said in a statement in which he shared pictures of the damage. “This is a terrorist act not against Ukraine, but against the whole world. The food security of which is again under threat.” 

    Odesa and its region house ports that previously allowed Ukraine to export its agricultural products despite the ongoing war and the Russian-imposed blockade, as part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.  

    However, on July 18, 2023, the Kremlin announced it had no intentions to allow grain exports through the Black Sea anymore, warning that there were no more “security guarantees” after the agreement expired a day before. 

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