Russia has admitted that its forces are responsible for launching the missiles that hit the Ukrainian port of Odessa on Saturday, retracting its initial denial of involvement in the attack.
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, wrote on her Telegram channel on Sunday that “Kalibr missiles destroyed the military infrastructure in the port of Odessa, with a high-precision strike.”
Just 12 hours after Russian and Ukrainian delegates signed an agreement to move grain blocked in Ukraine out of the country and onto world markets, the very port from which the grain shipments were meant to depart was struck by cruise missiles, which calls into question the viability of the deal.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the attack “cynical” and “a blow to the political positions of Russia itself.”
“If anyone in the world could still say that some kind of dialogue with Russia is needed, some kind of agreement, look at what is happening. The Russian Kalibr missiles today have destroyed the very possibility of such statements,” he said on Saturday.
The attack was also condemned by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said it casts “serious doubt on the credibility of Russia’s commitment” to the much celebrated grain deal and “undermines the work of the UN, Turkey and Ukraine to get criticism.” food to world markets.
Immediately after the attack, Turkey reported that Russian authorities had denied any involvement in the missile strikes in Odessa.
“In our contact with Russia, the Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack and that they were examining the issue very closely and in detail,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement, adding that “such an incident” just after the signing of the agreement “really worried us”.
It is unclear why Russia has decided to back down from its initial stance on the attack.