On 24 August, Ukraine’s Independence Day, Russian forces launched a missile strike on the port of Odesa, targeting a civilian cargo ship, a British government press release stated.
“Intelligence shows that the Russian military targeted a cargo ship in the Black Sea with multiple missiles on 24 August,” the UK government said.
The target of the attack was a Liberian-flagged cargo ship docked at the port, intelligence reported.
According to the UK government report, Ukrainian air defense shot down all missiles launched by Russia.
“The missiles, which included two Kalibr missiles fired from a Black Sea Fleet missile carrier, were successfully shot down by Ukraine’s forces on 24 August.”
“Putin is trying to win a war he will not win, and these attacks show just how desperate he is,” UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said. “In targeting cargo ships and Ukrainian infrastructure, Russia is hurting the rest of the world,” Cleverly added.
According to the information provided by the British government, after its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Russia has:
- Damaged 26 port infrastructure facilities in Odesa, Chornomorsk and Reni.
- Destroyed 280,000 tonnes of grain – more than the total amount Russia promised to donate to African states, and enough to feed over one million people for a year.
- Because of Russia’s decision to withdraw, up to 24 million tonnes of foodstuffs from Ukraine may now not reach global markets over the coming year
- Before Russia’s invasion, Ukraine was feeding 400 million people worldwide and accounted for 8-10% of global wheat exports and 10-12% of corn and barley exports.
- Ukraine provided over 50% of the wheat for the World Food Programme in 2022 – without the BSGI the WFP will have to replace this with more expensive or lower quality wheat.
On 17 July 2023, the Russian Federation withdrew from the Black Sea grain initiative, an UN-brokered agreement to unblock Ukraine’s ports and export its grain, and stated that it would not guarantee that it will not attack civilian vessels after that date. The Ukrainian defense ministry mirrored Russia’s threats to ships at sea.