Russia hits Ukraine’s Black Sea regions of Odessa and Mykolaiv with fresh airstrikes


Russia on Tuesday targeted Ukraine’s Black Sea regions of Odessa and Mykolaiv with airstrikes, hitting private buildings and port infrastructure along the country’s southern coast Ukrainian military said.

Kremlin forces used air-launched missiles in the attack, Ukraine’s Operational Command South said in a Facebook post.

The command released video on Tuesday that appeared to show smoldering debris and destroyed buildings, with the caption: “The aftermath of today’s rocket fire in the Odessa region.”

In the Odessa region, several private buildings in coastal villages were hit and caught fire, the report said. Port infrastructure was attacked in the Mykolayiv region.

Hours after renewed strikes in the south, a Moscow-based official in the southern Kherson region said the Odessa and Mykolaiv regions will soon be “liberated” by Russian forces, as will the Kherson region further east.

“The Kherson region and the city of Kherson are liberated forever,” Kirill Stremousov was quoted as saying by Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti.

The developments came as Ukraine appeared to be preparing a counter-offensive in the south.

Russia had previously attacked the port of Odessa over the weekend. The British military said on Tuesday there was no evidence a Ukrainian warship and a stockpile of anti-ship missiles were at the site, as Moscow claimed.

Russia's attack on Ukraine continues in the Odessa region
A firefighter works at the site of a residential area damaged by a Russian missile attack as Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues in the settlement of Zatoka, Odessa region, Ukraine July 26, 2022.

Press Service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Russia considers Ukraine’s use of anti-ship missiles “a key threat” constraining its Black Sea fleet.

“This significantly undermined the entire invasion plan, as realistically Russia cannot attempt an amphibious assault to capture Odessa,” the military said. “Russia will continue to prioritize efforts to dismantle and destroy Ukraine’s anti-ship capability.”

It added that “Russia’s targeting processes are most likely routinely subverted by outdated information, poor planning and a top-down approach to operations.”

Russian shelling in the past 24 hours has killed at least three civilians and injured eight others in Ukraine, the president’s office said on Tuesday.

In the eastern Donetsk region, where fighting has been concentrated in recent weeks, shelling has continued along the entire frontline, with the region’s largest cities, including Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Toretsk, coming under attack by Russian forces, sources in an explanation .

Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko accused Russian troops of using cluster munitions and repeated his call for the evacuation of civilians.

“There is not a single safe place anymore, everything is under fire,” Kyrylenko said in a televised speech. “But there are still evacuation routes for the civilian population.”

The Institute for the Study of War, based in Washington, DC, reported that the Russians were using mercenaries from the shadowy Wagner group to capture the Vuhledar power plant on the northern outskirts of the village of Novoluhanske.

But Russian forces have made “limited gains” there, according to the Ukrainian general staff.

Russia’s main focus was on capturing Bakhmut, which Moscow forces need to lead their offensive on the main Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

“Russian forces have made marginal gains south of Bakhmut, but are unlikely to be able to effectively use these advances to take full control of Bakhmut itself,” the Institute for the Study of War said.

Russian forces continued to carry out attacks on civilian infrastructure in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city in northeastern Ukraine, and the surrounding region.

Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov said strikes in the city resumed at dawn on Tuesday, damaging a car dealership.

“The Russians are deliberately targeting objects of civilian infrastructure – hospitals, schools, cinemas,” Syniehubov told Ukrainian TV. “Everything is being shot at, even humanitarian aid queues, so we urge people to avoid mass gatherings.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Moscow wanted “the complete subjugation of Ukraine and its people.”

“We must be prepared that this war, which Russia is waging with absolute brutality and like no one else would, will last for months,” Baerbock said during a visit to Prague.

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