Odesa Port Infrastructure Damaged in Russian Airstrikes

Even though Ukraine apparently intercepted most of the drones and missiles


KYIV, July 18 (Reuters) – Russia launched missile and drone strikes on southern and eastern Ukraine overnight that damaged infrastructure in the Black Sea port of Odesa, Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday.

The attack on Odesa, one of Ukraine’s main ports for exporting grain, followed a pledge of retaliation by Russia after a blast on a bridge linking Russia to the Crimean Peninsula on Monday that Moscow blamed on Ukraine.

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 military command 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, it said.

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

So Odesa has been attacked often and previously. Is this actually a retaliation for the bridge bombing?

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.

Neighbouring Moldova condemned the attacks and Russia’s decision not to extend the Black Sea grain deal.

“Last night’s bombing of Odessa region, including the port, reveals Russia’s tactic of weaponizing food depriving those most in need,” Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said on Twitter.

Why does this bombing of Odesa region signify a weaponizing of food? The area has been bombed repeatedly, previously. What did it mean those other times?

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