February 29, 2024

Russia hits Ukraine’s Odesa port in ‘hell’ attack after Moscow promises to pay for Crimea bridge

“But I think that every normal, rational person will look and say: Odesa was not afraid, is not afraid and will not be afraid – we will work.”

Most of Ukraine was under air raid alerts on and off starting shortly after midnight on Wednesday, while Russia was hit elsewhere, including by a drone attack on Kyiv.

“A difficult night of air attacks for all of Ukraine, especially in the south, in Odesa,” said Serhiy Popko, head of the Kyiv city military administration, on the Telegram channel.

He said Kyiv was attacked and according to preliminary information there was some damage or casualties.

Ukraine’s air force said it downed 37 out of 63 targets in the southern Odesa region, including 23 suicide drones and 14 cruise missiles that targeted critical infrastructure and military facilities. The success rate for countering Russian airstrikes was much lower than Ukraine usually reports.

There was no immediate comment from Russia.

On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it struck military targets in two Ukrainian port cities overnight as a “massive retaliatory strike” for the Crimean Bridge attack.

In Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, a fire broke out at a military training ground in the Kirovske district, forcing the evacuation of more than 2,000 people from four settlements, the Russian-installed governor of Crimea said.

Sergei Aksyonov did not give a reason for the fire.

Telegram channels linked to Russian security services and Ukrainian media said an ammunition depot at the base was on fire after an overnight airstrike from Ukraine.

Odesa military administration spokesman Bratchuk posted two videos of fire in an uninhabited area, saying, “Enemy ammunition depot. Staryi Krym.”

Staryi Krym is a small town in the Kirovske district of Crimea.

At the United Nations on Tuesday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said “some ideas are being floated” to help get Ukrainian and Russian grain and fertilizer to world markets. Moscow’s decision raised concerns mainly in Africa and Asia about rising food prices and hunger.

The United Nations and Turkey scrapped the Black Sea agreement in July last year to tackle a global food crisis exacerbated by Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and the blockade of Ukrainian ports . Both countries are among the world’s top grain exporters.

As for Ukraine, “we are fighting for global security and for our farmer in Ukraine” and working on options to keep food supply commitments, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address on Tuesday night.

Moscow dismissed calls from Ukraine to allow shipping to resume without Russian involvement, and the Kremlin openly said that ships entering the area without its guarantees would be at risk.

“We are talking about an area close to a war zone,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “Without the appropriate security guarantees, certain risks then arise. So if something is formalized without Russia, these risks should be taken into account.”

Russia says it may return to the grain market, but only if its demands to ease rules on its own food and fertilizer exports are met. Western countries have called for an attempt to use leverage on food supplies to weaken financial sanctions, which already allows Russia to sell food.

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