Russia's attack on the Ukrainian port of Odesa, coming days after an agreement was reached to resume grain shipments, shows that Ukraine needs more weapons so it can better defend itself, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova said Sunday.
"What happened in the port is so Russian, and it's very telling about what has been happening for the past eight years," Markarova said on CBS News' "Face the Nation." "For the past eight years, Ukraine always acted in good faith and tried everything possible — and sometimes impossible — to end the war and to return our sovereignty."
But Russia has violated an agreement reached to allow the shipments, she said, so it is "clearly showing who they are and that they need to be stopped."
Russia hit Odesa Saturday, one day after Moscow and Kyiv signed a landmark deal to unblock the grain exports from the ports at the Black Sea in hopes of easing global food shortages.
The deal was mediated by the United Nations and Turkey and has been seen as crucial for curbing global food prices, and Markarova said Sunday her country is "standing strong" while seeking options to resolve the crisis.
But "Russia has created" the food crisis for other countries as well as for Ukraine, "so we will do everything in order to perform and fulfill our part of the deal," she said.
There have been some U.N. officials who have said Russia technically may not be breaking the deal, as it never pledged to stop attacking Ukraine ports that are not used for grain exports, noted show anchor Margaret Brennan.
"Let's call it what it is," Markarova replied. "Everything Russia is doing in Ukraine is a violation of pretty much every international law ... the good response to that should be more weapons to Ukraine so that we can defend ourselves, we can get [Russia] out from our country and we can unblock our ports and unblock all Ukraine in order not only to ship the grain but the sunflower and everything else that has been stuck in Ukraine."
The ambassador added that Ukraine's farmers are still planting and harvesting while under Russian attack, and Ukraine will continue to rebuild and "do everything possible to feed us and feed the world."
Meanwhile, the United States has pledged to send national advanced surface-to-air missile systems, but Ukraine needs more firepower and more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, said Markarova.
"We already see that with that equipment that is very effectively used by our defenders," she said. "We're able to destroy the ammo dumps that Russia is creating on the uncontrolled territories, and that we're actually moving into free in more territories in the south and, hopefully, with a sufficient number of weapons. We can do the same in the east, but the situation remains very, very difficult still."
Markarova agreed with U.S. intelligence estimates that Russia now controls 20% of Ukraine, and confirmed State Department Ambassador Victoria Nuland's statement that "Russia makes orphans and then it steals orphans" in connection with the news that Ukrainian children are being taken into Russia, where they can be adopted quickly into Russian families.
"This is a brutal violation not only of international law but of common decency," Markarova said. "How can you steal our children and try to hide them somewhere in Russia?"
She noted that Ukraine has been able to bring only 47 children back home.
On Aug. 1, Ukraine will start a platform, "Children of War," which will allow people worldwide, including in Russia, to add information they have about the children, said Markarova.
"It's our first priority to locate, find them and return them and it's very difficult because we don't have control over these territories," she said. "We need everyone who can to get involved. And I can assure you that everyone in Ukraine will not rest until all of them are located and returned."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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