A harvest combine collects wheat in a field not far from the front line in the Kharkiv area of Ukraine on July 19. Wheat prices increased on Monday following Russian attacks in a southern port city that threw an agreement on resumed grain shipments into doubt. Photo by Sergey Kozlov/EPA-EFE
July 25 (BP) — Russian officials said on Monday that attacks on a critical port city in the south of Ukraine over the weekend will not affect a new agreement to allow resumption of gain shipments, but the cost of wheat is up after the deal was thrown into doubt.
Russia and Ukraine signed the deal on Friday to allow Ukrainian grain, which has been blocked in the Black Sea, to start moving again. Weekend attacks occurred in Odesa, a port city in southern Ukraine that will handle some of the shipments.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday the attacks in Odesa targeted military infrastructure, and will not impede grain shipments.
“These strikes are connected exclusively with military infrastructure,” Peskov said according to the state-run TASS news agency. “They are in no way related to infrastructure that is used for the export of grain.
“This should not affect — and will not affect — the beginning of shipments.”
Grain is one of Ukraine’s most important crops and the disruptions to shipments have had an impact on international markets and threatened global food security.
The weekend attacks in Odesa are having a direct impact on wheat prices, however. They were up more than 3% early on Monday.
Meanwhile, Russia’s defense ministry said on Monday that it’s pushed back two attempts by Ukrainian forces to cross the Dnieper River in efforts to win back the occupied southern region.
The fighting is the latest movement in the five-month Russian invasion of Ukraine, where Moscow continues to make territorial gains despite taking heavy losses and making only incremental progress throughout the country.
Moscow claimed it beat back two Ukrainian landing crafts and destroyed a depot used to move ammunition for the U.S.-provided weapons.
Oleksandr Syenkevych, mayor of the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, said a school was mostly destroyed in an attack early Monday.
Britain’s Defense Ministry said fighting is intense in the Donbas and Kherson sectors of Ukraine. Russian efforts in the east are struggling, and Moscow is bolstering defenses in the west, it said.
“In addition to its well-documented personnel problems, Russia likely continues to struggle to extract and repair the thousands of combat vehicles which have been damaged in action in Ukraine,” the ministry said in a tweet.