UKRAINE: Russia continued targeting southern Ukraine cities with drones and missiles after a debate over the termination of a wartime agreement allowing Ukraine to send grain via the Black Sea port, as per Russian defence ministry.
At least two people were killed in Odesa, while 19 people, including a toddler, were injured in Mykolaiv, a city near the Black Sea, as per Ukranian officials.
Russia has targeted Ukrainian grain export facilities, promising “retribution” for an attack on a bridge connecting Russia and the Crimean Peninsula. The attacks have increased food costs in hungry nations. The termination of the grain pact, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, will likely impact millions of people and cause further misery. The grain pact ensured the safety of Russian food and fertilizer transport to Ukrainian ports.
UNESCO has recognized Odesa’s downtown as having “outstanding universal value” and nominated it to its threatened World Heritage Sites list. The Russian military referred to its attacks as “retaliatory.” Odesa’s historic center has left a mark on cinema, literature, and arts, according to UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay.
Despite multiple Russian artillery attacks and airstrikes during the war that began in February 2022, Odesa had not previously been subjected to the heavy barrages that have targeted other towns and cities in Ukraine’s south and east.
Russia’s recent attention to Odessa has shocked citizens, with some claiming it was only 5% of the attacks. Some believe Odesa could become a long-term prime target due to Russia’s renegotiation of the grain agreement. Some have compared the intensive shelling of the Ukrainian capital to the May shelling of Kyiv.
The Russian Defence Ministry claimed to have targeted unmanned boat production facilities in Ukraine’s Odesa and Chornomorsk cities. The military also claimed to have destroyed munitions stores and fuel infrastructure in the Mykolaiv region, according to reports.
The raid destroyed at least 60,000 tonnes of grain in Odesa, highlighting the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Defence Ministry declared Black Sea vessels carrying military cargo to Russian ports as such, potentially increasing insurance costs. Moscow declared large Black Sea areas unsafe, imposing a sea blockade and warning ships as weapons. The EU foreign policy chief denounced Russia for attacking grain storage facilities.
Josep Borrell warned Brussels that over 60,000 tonnes of grain had been burned, indicating withdrawal from the grain arrangement. The EU is actively promoting Ukrainian grain on the global market, while German Foreign Affairs Minister Annalena Baerbock criticized the cancellation of the grain agreement and bombing of Odesa port as an attack on Ukraine and the poorest people.
According to a statement from White House National Security Council spokesperson Adam Hodge, Russia has placed more sea mines in the vicinity of Ukrainian ports.
Since the war began, Russia has shelled Ukrainian towns and cities. Western friends of Ukraine have assisted in modernizing its air defence systems. The Pentagon on Wednesday revealed the newest round of American military aid, which includes financing for four NASAMS (National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems) and its associated ammunition.