Bulgaria condemns Russia’s attack on Odesa port after wheat export deal

Bulgaria strongly condemns Russia’s attack on the port of Odesa and calls for the full and unobstructed implementation of the agreement on wheat exports from Ukraine, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said in a message on Twitter on July 24.

“Weaponizing food is unacceptable,” Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said.

The Russian attack on July 23 came hours after the signing of the Black Sea Grain Initiative by Russia and Ukraine, meant to ensure the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea.

The deal was intended to enable commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea – Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.

Russia claimed that the targets of its strikes were military.

On July 23, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that the EU strongly condemned the Russian missile strike on Odesa’s seaport.

“Striking a target crucial for grain export a day after the signature of Istanbul agreements is particularly reprehensible and again demonstrates Russia’s total disregard for international law and commitments,” Borrell said.

The BBC reported that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of “barbarism” after the missile attack.

Zelenskyy said the strike showed that Moscow could not be trusted to stick to the deal.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on July 23, in response to the Russian attack: “The Kremlin continues to show disregard for the safety and security of millions of civilians as it perpetuates its assault on Ukraine.

“Russia is starving Ukraine of its economic vitality and the world of its food supply through the effective blockade of the Black Sea,” said Blinken, who said that the attack casts serious doubt on the credibility of Russia’s commitment to the deal and undermines the work of the UN, Türkiye, and Ukraine to get critical food to world markets.

A spokesperson for UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the UN chief unequivocally condemned the missile strikes.

“All parties made clear commitments on the global stage to ensure the safe movement of Ukrainian grain and related products to global markets,” the spokesperson said.

“These products are desperately needed to address the global food crisis and ease the suffering of millions of people in need around the globe. Full implementation by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Türkiye is imperative.”

After the signing of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Guterres had described it as a “beacon on the Black Sea”. 

“A beacon of hope – a beacon of possibility – a beacon of relief — in a world that needs it more than ever,” he said.

(Photo: Bulgarian Foreign Ministry)

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