July 24, 2022 23:23 GMT
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Russia claimed responsibility for a missile strike on the Ukrainian port of Odesa hours after signing off on a deal brokered by Turkey and the UN to create corridors for seaborne exports of Ukrainian grain.
- The attack drew international condemnation and casts doubt on Russia's commitment to respecting the terms of the deal which could have helped ease the global food crisis. Moscow rejected Western criticism, noting that it was targeting military objects.
- Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister embarked on a tour of several African countries, seeking to counter claims that Moscow remains internationally isolated and push back against accusations that Russia is perpetrating the global food crisis and has committed war crimes in Ukraine.
- Lavrov's first stop was Egypt, the world's largest grain importer, where he met with President al-Sisi and fellow chief diplomat Shoukry. He praised "the balanced position of Africans on what is happening in and around Ukraine."
- Whilst in Cairo, Lavrov appeared to be upping the ante in Russia's war on Ukraine, as he cited regime change in Kyiv as one of the Kremlin's objectives. He noted that Moscow will "definitely help the Ukrainian people to free themselves" from the current regime.
- Lavrov will visit Ethiopia, Uganda and the Republic of the Congo later this week.