Russia Claims That A Strike On A Ukrainian Port Hit Military Targets

Officials from Russia’s defence ministry insisted on Sunday that an airstrike on the port of Odesa, less than a day after Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement to resume grain shipments from there, had only hit military targets.

“A docked Ukrainian warship and a warehouse with Harpoon anti-ship missiles supplied by the US to the Kyiv regime were destroyed in the seaport in the city of Odesa, on the territory of a shipyard,” ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said at a daily briefing.

In his nightly televised address Saturday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the attack on Odesa “destroyed the very possibility” of dialogue with Russia.

The Ukrainian military said on Saturday that Moscow had launched four cruise missiles at Odesa’s seaport, two of which were shot down by Ukrainian air defence.

According to Nataliya Humenyuk, a command spokeswoman, no grain storage facilities were hit. However, Turkey’s defence minister stated that he had received reports from Ukrainian authorities that one missile struck a grain silo and another landed nearby, but neither impacted loading at Odesa’s docks.

The impact of the airstrike on plans to resume shipping Ukrainian grain by sea through safe corridors from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports: Odesa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny was unclear.

Russia and Ukraine signed identical agreements with the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul on Friday, clearing the way for the shipment of millions of tonnes of desperately needed Ukrainian grain, as well as Russian grain and fertiliser exports. Senior United Nations officials expressed optimism that the agreement would end a months-long standoff caused by Ukraine’s war, which threatened global food security.

The Associated Press obtained the agreement, which committed both Kyiv and Moscow to refraining from strikes on the three Black Sea ports.

On Sunday, Ukrainian authorities reported that Russian shelling in Ukraine’s south and east continued to kill and injure civilians.

The governor of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, one of two that comprise the Donbas industrial heartland and a key focus of Russia’s offensive, said two civilians had been killed and two more had been injured in the previous 24 hours.

The United Kingdom military reported in its daily intelligence update on Sunday morning that Russia was making “minimal progress” in its ongoing Donbas offensive, which it described as “small-scale and focused on the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.”

In its regular update, the Ukrainian General Staff confirmed that Russia was “conducting military operations to create conditions” for an assault on Bakhmut, while also firing on nearby settlements and battling Ukrainian defenders for control of a nearby thermal plant.

At least five civilians were injured by Russian shells in the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv on Saturday night and Sunday morning, according to regional officials in Ukraine’s south.

“In addition, fires broke out in open areas of the city as a result of the scattering of munitions and their fragments,” said Vitaly Kim, governor of the Mykolaiv region.

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