Turkey warns Putin it will protect grain deal as Russia hammers Odesa

Ukraine: Russia strikes Odesa port after agreeing grain deal

Turkey has warned Vladimir Putin that it will “take the initiative” to prevent the fallout from the termination of the Black Sea grain deal.

There has been speculation that Turkish ships could help protect ships moving grain from Ukraine raising the spectre of war as the NATO member’s vessels could be struck – whether accidentally or on purpose – by Russian forces operating in the region.

President Erdogan told journalists on his presidential plane: “The termination of the Black Sea grain initiative will have a range of [harmful] effects, ranging from raising global food prices, in some regions to famine, and then new waves of migration.

“We do not hesitate to take the initiative to prevent this.”

He also said he was confident that discussing the “issue in detail” with Putin would “ensure the continuation of this humanitarian movement”.

The comments come as Russia hammers the Black Sea port of Odesa through which much of the grain is shipped.

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The attacks over the last week appear to be revenge for Ukraine’s strike which damaged the Kerch Bridge linking Crimea and Russia.

“The terrorist country continues to attack [the] Odesa region,” Oleh Kiper, head of the region’s military administration wrote on Telegram.

Kiper added: “The target is an important infrastructure facility. The Russians fired 7 missiles [at] it. Unfortunately, there is damage.”

Russian missiles also struck a grain warehouse Thursday night destroying tons of crops, according to Ukraine’s military.

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Moscow recently pulled out of the crucial grain deal which was brokered with the help of the UN and Turkey.

Russia and Ukraine supply the world with a large amount of grain and there are worries that shortages could hit the poorest countries in Asia and Africa hardest.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “strongly condemns” Russia’s attacks on the port city of Odessa, spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Thursday.

Dujarric added that the attacks could have an impact “well beyond Ukraine” when it comes to global wheat and corn prices.

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