Josep Borrell, top diplomat for the European Union, announced on Twitter Tuesday morning, June 7th, that Russia had destroyed the second largest grain storage facility in Ukraine, decimating possible millions of tonnes of food stuffs from wheat to soybeans.
“Another Russian missile strike contributing to the global food crisis. Russian forces have destroyed the second biggest grain terminal in Ukraine, in Mykolaiv,” Josep Borrell, the vice president of the European Commission and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Tweeted. “In light of such reports, the disinformation spread by Putin deflecting blame becomes ever more cynical.”
The Maritime Executive reports that Ukraine’s South Operational Command stated the airstrikes came from Russian aviation assets operating over the Black Sea. The Ukrainian command also claimed that it shot down two cruise missiles, but some of the missiles struck port facilities and grain storage silos.
“The pseudo care for humanitarian corridors and the unblocking of ports is just a reason to gain access to Ukraine’s maritime infrastructure,” the command said in a statement, according to The Maritime Executive.
Tens of millions of tonnes of agricultural products have been stuck in Ukraine since Russia blockaded the Black Sea. This is creating a food shortage in the areas of the world that rely on Ukrainian exports, particularly Africa.
The UN has been negotiating with Russia to allow shipments through, but no agreement has been reached.
The port and grain terminal that was struck on June 7th is a port complex and a private storage terminal about 30 nautical miles inland from the Black Sea on the Bug estuary, according to The Maritime Executive. The port’s silos have capacity for up to 500,000 tonnes of grain at a time. Normally, as much as six million tonnes of grain, soybeans, and oilseeds pass through the port annually.
This latest high-profile attack on Ukrainian civilian targets comes on day 104 of the war and follows renewed airstrikes on Kyiv, which had ceased mid-April. It also follows on the heels of promises by both the UK and United States to supply Ukraine with long range missile systems, a move Russian President Vladimir Putin said would be met by attacks on an increased number of Ukrainian targets.
Bridget Ryder is Spain-based writer. She has written on politics, environment, and culture for American and international publications. She holds degrees in Spanish and Catholic Studies.