Pope Francis condemns Russian attacks on Ukrainian ports’ grain terminals

31 July, 12:04 AM
Pope Francis (Photo:REUTERS/Yara Nardi)

Pope Francis (Photo:REUTERS/Yara Nardi)

Pope Francis has condemned Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and Moscow’s subsequent airstrikes on Ukrainian grain infrastructure at Ukrainian ports, according to a report by Vatican News on July 30.

“Let us not cease to pray for Ukraine, where war devastates everything, including grain,” Pope Francis said.

“This is a serious offense to God, for grain is His gift to feed humanity. The cries of our brothers and sisters suffering from hunger reach up to the heavens,” Pope Francis said during Sunday prayers in the Vatican in Rome.

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“I appeal to my brothers, the authorities of the Russian Federation, that the Black Sea Initiative may be restored and grain may be transported safely,” the Pope added.

On July 17, Russia officially announced its withdrawal from the grain agreement, citing the repeated sabotage of the Crimean Bridge as the reason. Along with this move, Moscow also revoked guarantees of safe navigation in the Black Sea.

In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy proposed continuing the grain agreement without Russia’s participation, in collaboration with Turkey and the United Nations.

However, tensions escalated as the Russian Ministry of Defense declared that it would consider all vessels heading to Ukrainian ports as carriers of military cargo.

In a mirrored response, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry declared that it would treat vessels heading to Russian and occupied ports as military targets.

Russia conducted training missile strikes in the Black Sea on July 21, after threatening to attack all maritime vessels heading to Ukrainian ports. During the exercises, the occupiers deliberately sank the Ukrainian corvette Ternopil, which had been captured in 2014 during the occupation of Crimea.

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