Russia's Lavrov offers reassurances over wheat

STORY: Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered reassurances over Russian grain supplies to Egypt at the start of an African tour on Sunday (July 24).

His arrival comes amid uncertainty over a deal signed between Russia and Ukraine to resume Ukrainian exports through the Black Sea.

But on Saturday (July 23), Russian missiles hit the major Ukrainian port Odesa.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the attack "barbarism" that showed Moscow could not be trusted to implement the deal struck just the day before with Turkish and U.N. mediation.

Video released by Ukraine's military showed damage in Odesa.

The military said two missiles hit the area of a pumping station and two more were shot down.

Russia said on Sunday its forces had hit a Ukrainian warship and weapons store in Odesa.

Speaking in Cairo, Lavrov reaffirmed the commitment of Russian grain exporters to "meet all their commitments".

In a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Lavrov said there was a "common understanding of the causes of the grain crisis".

Since the start of the war in February, Russia's Black Sea fleet has blockaded Ukraine's ports.

That's trapped tens of millions of tons of grain and sent global food prices soaring.

Russia blames Western sanctions and Ukrainian mines in the Black Sea for the crisis.

For Egypt it's created a political dilemma.

It's one of the world's top wheat importers with 80% last year coming from Russia and Ukraine.

Because of the war, Cairo is torn between long-standing ties to Russia and it close relationship with Western powers.

Russia has continued to supply wheat to Egypt, selling to both the government and the private sector.

After Cairo, Lavrov will travel to Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as Congo Republic.

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