Russia has given assurances about global grain stocks after fears that the supply chain could be thrown into chaos following missile strikes on a key Ukrainian city.

Russia and Ukraine signed a landmark deal last week allowed grain exports to resume from Black Sea ports after they were blocked by Vladimir Putin’s forces.

The agreement, which was also signed by the UN and Turkey at a ceremony in Istanbul, raised hopes that an international food crisis exacerbated by the Russian invasion could be eased.

But in less than 24 hours the port city of Odessa a missile attack was carried out, the president of Ukraine described Vladimir Zelensky as “barbarism”.

He said Russia the deal could not be trusted to go through, and global importers feared that stocks were once again hanging in the balance.

However, during his visit to Cairo, Egypt, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed assurances.

At a press conference following a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shukri, Mr. Lavrov said he “confirmed the commitment of Russian grain exporters to fulfill all their commitments.”

He added: “We discussed specific parameters of cooperation in this area, agreed on further contacts between relevant ministries, and we have a common understanding of the causes of the grain crisis.”

Egypt is one of the largest importers of wheat in the world and last year bought about 80% of its imports from Russia and Ukraine.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s blockade of Ukrainian ports seized tens of millions of tons of grain, disrupted supplies, accelerated global commodity prices and exacerbated bottlenecks in global supply chains.

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Rocket attacks on the port of Odessa

Ukraine is making efforts to resume grain exports, but has warned that supplies will suffer if a Russian missile strike on Odessa is a sign of things to come.

Ukraine estimates that it can export 60 million tons of grain in eight to nine months if its ports are not blocked.

The United Nations, the European Union, the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Italy condemned the strikes.

Meanwhile, Russia said its forces hit legitimate military targets — a Ukrainian warship and a weapons depot in Odessa — with high-precision missiles.

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