In a war that has lost its way, as part of a policy that has no meaning, a terrible result of an erratic judgement since the start, Russia is targeting everything: innocent people, including children, residential areas, civilian infrastructure, cultural heritage. All these amount to war crimes.
With its latest decision to kill the grain deal, Russia is again disrupting the food-supply chain. And if this were not enough, it is intentionally targeting ports and grain storage facilities.
Russia’s intention to target the Ukrainian national identity: its history, architecture, language, and culture, has never been a secret. It is fully in line with the policy of Kremlin, according to which Ukraine is not a nation and doesn’t have the right to exist.
As of 20 July 2023, UNESCO has verified damage to 116 religious’ sites, 27 museums, 95 buildings of historical and artistic interest, 19 monuments, 12 libraries and one archive.
Last week, Russian missiles destroyed the Odesa Spaso -Transfiguration Cathedral, built in 1794. It was not the first time this Cathedral has been under vicious attacks. Kremlin had already done so under Stalin, in 1936.
87 years later, illegally acquired Iranian drones, used by the Russian army, would hit it with the same intention, to destroy it. The cathedral is one of several historical parts of central Odesa, a UNESCO world heritage site.
I wonder what explanations they can come up with, they who never waste an occasion to pretend that Russia never attacks non-military targets.
The intense drone and missile attacks of Russia against Odessa aimed to damage the port infrastructure, including its grain and oil terminal. The bombardment inflicted serious damage to export facilities and destroyed at least 60,000 tons of grain.
First Russia withdraws from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, playing with the anxiety of millions unsure to have food in the coming days and weeks; now it wants to destroy ports, export facilities and even silos full of grain.
By blocking and bombing Ukrainian seaports and preventing freedom of navigation in the Black Sea, Russia is not only preventing Ukraine to export its grain and agricultural production; it is condemning millions to food insecurity in many parts of the world, mostly in developing countries in the global south and is again trying to weaponize food.
We believe that it’s time for this Council to act and work in addressing this issue. Attacks against civilian and critical infrastructure, including infrastructure related to grain exports, must come to an end.
We also call on Russia to engage and remove its obstacles to the flow of grain exports through the Black Sea.
Let’s not forget: deliberate attacks against critical infrastructure constitute war crimes.
Perpetrators must be held to account.
This continued deliberate destruction policy only reinforces the need to continue supporting Ukraine militarily, politically, and economically for its self-defense until proper conditions for peace are created – a peace fully in line with the UN Charter, one that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.