Russia targets grain on day export deal is struck with Croatia

Ukraine has announced a vital grain export partnership with Croatia.

The scheme sees Croatian ports used to safely distribute Kyiv’s exports, bypassing Russia’s military blockade of the Black Sea.

The two governments said they had “agreed on the possibility” of transporting Ukrainian produce via the River Danube to the Balkan nation.

From there, the grain can then be safely exported via the Adriatic Sea to the Mediterranean and then on to world markets.

It is hoped the new route will prevent millions of tons of grain coming under rocket attack from Russian forces after Moscow turned its back on the previously agreed safe passage deal through the Black Sea.

READ MORE: Supermarket food prices could skyrocket as Putin bombs Ukraine grain ports

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said after talks with his Croatian counterpart that the deal had now been brokered.

Mr Kuleba said: “Now we will work to establish the most efficient routes to these ports and make the most of this opportunity.

“Every contribution to unblocking export, every door opened, is a real, effective contribution to the world’s food security.”

Ukraine currently relies on land export routes via the European Union, as well as an alternative route via the Danube. Russia attacked the infrastructure along the latter route earlier this month.

Mr Kuleba said his talks with Croatian counterparts had also included the subject of weapons.

He added: “I will only say that there are specific agreements that will be implemented soon.”

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The announcement came on the same day Russia once again targeted grain facilities in the Ukrainian port of Odesa.

A Russian drone hit the port, damaging grain and industrial facilities and starting fires, authorities said.

A grain silo was badly damaged, according to regional governor Oleh Kiper, who gave no further details.

Russia quit the UN-backed Black Sea grain deal earlier this month, depriving Ukraine of a vital conduit to safely export its agricultural products during the war.

Earlier this month, the UK joined world food organisations in condemning Russia after Moscow launched drone attacks on Ukrainian ports and along the River Danube, targeting vital grain storage infrastructure.

Rishi Sunak said he was “appalled” by Russian strikes on the southern port of Odesa and other sites along the Danube.

And the Prime Minister stressed in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that there are renewed UK efforts to restore the Black Sea grain initiative.

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