Wednesday July 27, 2022

New Russian airstrikes target Black Sea regions of Ukraine

New Russian airstrikes target Black Sea regions of Ukraine

A woman walks among apartment buildings destroyed by Russian shelling on the outskirts of Odesa, Ukraine. AP

Russia targeted Ukraine’s southern Black Sea regions of Odesa and Mykolaiv with airstrikes on Tuesday, hitting private buildings and port infrastructure with missiles fired from long-range bomber aircraft, the Ukrainian military said.

In the Odesa region, buildings in coastal villages were hit and caught fire, Ukraine’s Operational Command South said on Facebook. A Ukrainian air force spokesman said long-range Russian Tu-22M3 bombers and Su-30 and Su-35 fighter jets launched the strikes from the Black Sea. In the Mykolaiv region, port infrastructure was targeted despite agreements intended to allow grain grain shipments to resume from Ukraine's Black Sea ports.


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Hours after the strikes, a Moscow-installed official in southern Ukraine said the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions would soon be "liberated” by Russian forces, just like the already occupied Kherson region further east.

"The Kherson region and the city of Kherson have been liberated forever,” Russian state news agency RIA Novosti quoted the region's Russia-appointed official, Kirill Stremousov, as saying.

New Russian airstrikes target Black Sea regions of Ukraine
Rescuers move a covered body of a woman killed by Russian missile attack on Monday in Chuhuiv, Ukraine. AP

On the diplomatic front, Russia’s foreign minister repeated his insistence that Moscow was ready to hold talks with Ukraine on ending the war, though he again claimed that Kyiv’s Western allies oppose a deal.

"We never refused to have talks, because everybody knows that any hostilities end at the negotiating table,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday during a trip to Uganda.

He said negotiations have gone no further since a meeting between the two sides in Istanbul at the end of March.

While Ukrainian officials have spoken of a possible counteroffensive in the south, the British Defense Ministry reported Tuesday no indication a Ukrainian warship and a stockpile of anti-ship missiles were at Odesa's port, as Moscow claimed when it struck the site over the weekend.

New Russian airstrikes target Black Sea regions of Ukraine
Rescuers remove debris after a Russian missile attack on Monday in Chuhuiv, Kharkiv region, Ukraine. AP

The British ministry said Russia sees Ukraine’s use of anti-ship missiles as "a key threat” limiting its Black Sea Fleet.

"This has significantly undermined the overall invasion plan, as Russia cannot realistically attempt an amphibious assault to seize Odesa,” the ministry said. "Russia will continue to prioritize efforts to degrade and destroy Ukraine’s anti-ship capability.”

It added, "Russia’s targeting processes are highly likely routinely undermined by dated intelligence, poor planning, and a top-down approach to operations.”

In other military developments, Russian shelling over the previous 24 hours killed at least three civilians and wounded eight in Ukraine, the Ukrainian president’s office said Tuesday.

In the eastern Donetsk region, where the fighting has focused in recent months, shelling continued along the entire front, with Russian forces targeting some of the region's largest cities, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Toretsk, the presidential office said.

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

New Russian airstrikes target Black Sea regions of Ukraine
Medic volunteers give medical tactical training session to paramedics and soldiers, in Dobropillia, Ukraine. AP

"There is not a single safe place left. Everything is being shelled," Kyrylenko said in televised remarks. "But there are still evacuation routes for the civilian population.”

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, reported that Moscow was using mercenaries from the shadowy Wagner Group to capture the Vuhledar Power Plant on the northern outskirts of the Bakhmut region village of Novoluhanske.

But Russian forces have made "limited gains” there, Ukraine’s General Staff acknowledged.

The main regional Russian focus for the moment is on capturing Bakhmut, which the Russian military needs to press its eastern offensive on Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk, the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

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

Associated Press

 

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