U.N. says ‘most vulnerable’ hurt by end of grain deal; Ukraine, Russia trade drone strikes

July 24 (UPI) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that Russia’s termination of its grain deal with Ukraine will send the global food supply and price stability into a spiral as the two sides exchanged attacks Monday.

Speaking at the U.N. Food Systems Summit Monday, Guterres noted that the Black Sea Initiative allowed for the export of more than 32 million metric tons of food from Ukrainian ports. He attributed the deal to lowering food prices by 23% and creating a lifeline for countries where food is the most scarce.

“With the termination of the Black Sea Initiative, the most vulnerable will pay the highest price. When food prices rise, everybody pays for it,” he said. ” We are already seeing the negative effect on global wheat and corn prices which hurts everyone.”

Guterres’ comments came as Russia continued to target Ukraine’s grain infrastructure, deploying drone strikes on Ukraine’s ports on the Danube River on Monday, injuring seven people and destroying a hangar where grain was stored. One person is in critical condition, according to Odessa’s regional governor, Oleg Kiper.

Kiper said the attacks lasted four hours and were carried out by Iranian drones. The attack is just the latest against Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Officials estimated 66,000 tons of grain have been destroyed in the last week.

Russia said that Ukraine launched its own drone strikes early Monday, hitting two non-residential buildings in Moscow and an ammunition depot in annexed Crimea, Russian officials said.

Both of the attacks were announced by Russian officials on Telegram.

In Moscow, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said the two buildings were struck at about 4 a.m., causing little damage and zero casualties.

“All emergency services are on site,” he said in the brief statement.

Russian state-run news agency TASS reported that fragments from one drone were found at 17th Komsomolsky Avenue while the second aerial vehicle hit a business center towner on Likhachev Avenue, shattering the windows of its 17th and 18th floors.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense blamed the “terrorist attack” on Ukraine in a statement published to Telegram while saying it was able to foil the two unnamed aerial vehicles “by means of electronic warfare,” which caused the drones to crash.

Kyiv also launched 17 drones targeting facilities in Crimea, the Ministry of Defense for Russia, which illegally annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, said, adding that all were destroyed, either by electronic warfare or the Kremlin’s air defense capabilities.

Eleven of the drones crashed into the Black Sea and three landed on the peninsula, it said, with the other three presumably being destroyed by Russia’s air defense.

Sergei Aksyonov, Russia’s installed governor of the peninsula, confirmed 11 drones were brought down, but said an ammunition depot in the Dzhankoy region of northeast Crimea was hit in the attack.

Debris from the aerials also damaged a private residence, he said.

Railway traffic on the Dzhankoy-Simferopol highway was temporarily suspended because of the attack, and residents within a roughly 3-mile radius of the Dzhankoy strike were evacuated.

No casualties were reported.

“For my part, I remain committed to facilitating the unimpeded access to global markets for food products and fertilizers from both Ukraine and the Russian Federation, and to deliver the food security that every person deserves,” Guterres said. “I call on the Russian Federation to return to the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative, in line with my latest proposal.”

Earlier this month, Russian officials said Ukraine launched five drones at Moscow, which caused flights to be diverted from Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport.

Authored by Upi via Breitbart July 24th 2023