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European Council President Charles Michel and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal pose for a picture before their meeting, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Odessa May 9, 2022. —Ukrainian Governmental Press Service pic via Reuters
European Council President Charles Michel and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal pose for a picture before their meeting, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Odessa May 9, 2022. —Ukrainian Governmental Press Service pic via Reuters

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KYIV, May 9 — European Council President Charles Michel, who made a surprise visit to Odessa today, was forced to break off a meeting and take cover when missiles again struck the southern Ukrainian city, an EU official said.

The strike took place as he held talks with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. 

“During the meeting with the PM, the participants needed to interrupt the meeting to take shelter as missiles struck again the region of Odessa,” the official said. 

As part of the visit, Michel was shown around the port and “was able to witness first hand the impact of Russia’s war on global supply chains,” the EU official said. 

“The many tonnes of grain stranded in the port due to the Russian blockade of the Black Sea not only damage Ukraine’s economy but equally hamper the world’s access to vital food and endanger food security worldwide,” the official said. 

Ukraine is a major global producer and exporter of wheat, but the invasion has disrupted both planting and distribution, which has been crippled by Russia’s destruction of transportation infrastructure and its blockade on Odessa, the main port for grain exports.

Before the war Ukraine accounted for about 12 per cent of the world’s wheat exports, and the conflict has sent the prices of food commodities soaring. 

The EU leader was also briefed by Ukraine’s navy chief on “the damage caused by Russian missiles fired from the sea and was able to witness first hand the wanton destruction of a residential building and the impact on innocent civilians”. — AFP


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