Russian troops have been knocking on the port of Odesa, Ukrainian officials said, apparently to disrupt supply lines and arms shipments crucial to Kyiv’s defense.
The Ukrainian military said Russian forces yesterday fired seven missiles from the air at Ukraine’s main port, hitting a mall and a warehouse. One person was killed and five injured, they reported.
Pictures overnight showed a burning building and destruction in the city by the Black Sea. At dawn, Mayor Gennady Trukhanov visited the warehouse, saying it ‘had nothing in common with military infrastructure or military objects’.
Ukraine claimed that at least some of the ammunition used dated back to Soviet times, making them unreliable in targeting, but the Center for Defense Strategies, a Ukrainian think tank that tracks the war, said Moscow used some precision weapons. including Kinzhal hypersonic air-to-surface missiles.
Ukrainian, British and US officials warn that Moscow is rapidly depleting its stockpile of precision weapons and may not be able to build more quickly, increasing the risk of more inaccurate missiles being used as the conflict continues.
Ukraine’s ability to ward off a larger and better-armed Russian military has surprised many observers who had foreseen a much faster conflict.
With the war in its 11th week and Kiev spoiling Russian forces in many places and even staging a counter-offensive second, Ukraine’s foreign minister seemed to suggest that the country could expand its goals beyond simply pushing Russia back to territories it or its allies had. . on the day of the invasion on 24 February.
One of the most dramatic examples of Ukraine’s ability to deny Moscow easy victories has been Mariupol, where Ukrainian warriors remain trapped in a steelworks despite a long siege.
The regiment that defended the facility said today that Russian warplanes were still knocking on it.
In recent days, the UN and the Red Cross have organized a dramatic rescue of what some officials said were the last civilians trapped at the factory, but yesterday two officials suggested that about 100 were still in the complex’s underground tunnels.
In another example of the gruesome amount the war continues to take, the Ukrainians said they had found the bodies of 44 civilians in the rubble of a building in the northeast that was destroyed weeks ago.
Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces failed to occupy Kiev in the early days of the war, he has said his focus is the country’s eastern industrial heartland Donbas – but a general has suggested that Moscow’s goal also includes cutting off Ukraine from its Black Sea. coast to the south.
It would give it a stretch of territory connecting Russia with the Crimean peninsula, which it conquered in 2014, and Transnistria, a pro-Russian breakaway region in Moldova.
Although it is not possible to separate Ukraine from the Black Sea – and it seems to lack the strength to do so – the continued missile attacks on the city of Odesa reflect the importance of the city as a strategic transport hub.
The Russian military has repeatedly attacked the city’s airport, claiming it had destroyed several rounds of Western weapons.
Odesa is also a major gateway for grain shipments, and Russia’s blockade is already threatening the global food supply.
In addition, the city is a cultural jewel that is dear to both Ukrainians and Russians, and to target it has symbolic significance.
In Mariupol, Russians have bombed the Azovstal steelworks, the Azov regiment said, targeting the sprawling complex 34 times over the past 24 hours. Attempts to storm the plant also continued.
Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the city’s mayor, estimated that at least 100 civilians remained trapped in the plant complex. Donetsk Regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said they were people “whom the Russians have not selected” for evacuation from a multitude of tunnels and bunkers spread over four square kilometers.
With Russian forces fighting to gain ground in the Donbas, military analysts suggest that an attack on Odesa could serve to raise concerns in southwestern Ukraine, thus forcing Kiev to station more forces there.
It would pull them away from the eastern front as its military staged counter-offensives near the city of Kharkiv with the aim of pushing the Russians back across the border.
Kharkiv and the surrounding area have been under constant Russian attack since the beginning of the war. In recent weeks, eerie images have shown the horrors of these fighting, with charred bodies strewn in a street.
Dozens of bodies have been found in a five-story building that collapsed in March in Izyum, about 75 miles from Kharkiv, according to Oleh Synehubov, head of the regional administration.
Ukraine’s foreign minister appeared to be expressing growing confidence – and expanded goals – in the midst of the halted Russian offensive.
“In the first months of the war, the victory for us resembled the withdrawal of Russian forces to the positions they occupied before February 24, and payment for inflicted damage,” Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with the Financial Times.
If we are now strong enough on the military front and we win the battle for the Donbas, which will be crucial to the following dynamics of the war, the victory for us in this war will, of course, be the liberation of the rest of our territories. ‘
Get in touch with our news team by sending us an email at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check out our news page.