The Ukrainian government is hoping to resume exports of grain from the Black Sea port of Odesa despite a Russian missile strike on Sunday, said Markiyan Dmytrasevych, the deputy minister for agrarian policy and food.
“We expect that, as announced, despite the incident that happened on Saturday, [export of grain] will start in the coming days. Hopefully we'll see some early results this week,” Dmytrasevych told journalists on Monday.
On Friday, Ukraine and Russia agreed to a deal that would allow the resumption of vital grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Ministers from both countries signed an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul. Just 24 hours after the deal, Russian missile strikes hit the southern Ukrainian port of Odesa.
President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday pointed to the role of UN and Turkey to ensure security given their involvement in mediating the deal.
"We trust UN and Turkey, who with we signed the corresponding documents with," Zelensky said at a press conference. "This is a very important moment to control the security of the corridors for the grain exports. And further down, there'll be questions to Turkey and United Nations: how they can control Russian Federation who showed it could strike with rockets ... That shows their attitude to their agreements and Turkey."
Zelensky said Ukraine will start exports "in order to prove to the world that it's not Ukraine who is blocking the exports," but said Turkey and the UN "should look after the security."
Separately, Deputy Minister Dmytrasevych said the Russian strike had reduced the “enthusiasm” that local farmers had over the deal signed with the UN and Turkey in Istanbul last week.
“Scepticism towards this agreement was also felt by farmers and security experts even before the signing of the agreement. It is clear that no one trusts the Russians, no one believes them,” Dmytrasevych said. “Let's see how this initiative will work in practice, and for how long. Because we understand that this work can be interrupted.”