18 Jul 2023

Odesa port infrastructure damaged in Russian attacks

8:20 pm on 18 July 2023

By Gleb Garanich for Reuters

Bulk carrier ARGO I is docked at the grain terminal of the port of Odessa, Ukraine, on April 10, 2023, from where Ukraine ships wheat according to the grain agreement the country currently has with Russia.

Pictured is port of Odesa from where Ukraine shipped wheat according to the grain agreement the country had with Russia. Photo: Bo Amstrup / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP

Russia has carried out missile and drone strikes on southern and eastern Ukraine, causing damage to infrastructure in the Black Sea port of Odesa, Ukrainian officials say.

The attacks followed a pledge of retaliation by Russia after a blast on a bridge linking Russia to the Crimean Peninsula on Monday.

Moscow accused Ukraine of attacking the bridge, which is used to transport military supplies to Crimea, seized and annexed by Russia in 2014.

Ukraine's air force said all six Kalibr missiles that were fired overnight, and 31 out of 36 drones, were shot down. The missiles and most of the drones were downed over Odesa and Mykolaiv regions in the south, while the rest were destroyed over the eastern regions of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk.

Ukraine's southern operational military command said that all six Kalibr cruise missiles fired by Russia overnight were shot down over Odesa, and that 21 Iranian-made Shahed drones were downed over the surrounding region.

It said falling debris and blast waves damaged several homes and unspecified port infrastructure in Odesa, but gave few details.

There was no word of any deaths but an elderly man was wounded in his home and was taken to hospital, it added.

Odesa has often been attacked since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 although the port was part of the UN-brokered deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of grain that Russia pulled out of on Monday.

The latest attack was "further proof that the country-terrorist wants to endanger the lives of 400 million people in various countries that depend on Ukrainian food exports," Andriy Yermak, the head of the presidential staff, said on Telegram.

US aid chief Samantha Power, who announced more than US$500 million (NZ$791m) in humanitarian assistance during a visit to Ukraine on Monday, is expected to visit Odesa on Tuesday.

A fire broke out at an unspecified facility in the port of Mykolaiv late on Monday, the city mayor said. The port city also provides Ukraine with access to the Black Sea.

"It's quite serious," Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said of the fire on the Telegram messaging app.

The southern military command said the fire was quickly put out and reported no casualties. It said four drones were shot down over the Mykolaiv region.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports. There was no immediate comment on the attacks from Russia.

- Reuters

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