Ukraine Says Russian Strikes Hit Areas Along Black Sea
Ukraine’s military reported Russian missiles strikes struck areas of the Ukrainian Black Sea coast on Tuesday.
The attacks hit multiple locations, including the Odesa area and port infrastructure in the city of Mykolaiv.
The strikes happened days after a Russian missile attack against Odesa raised questions about an agreement to resume Ukrainian exports from the region.
Britain’s defense ministry said Tuesday that Russian forces likely perceive anti-ship missiles as a key threat and one that is preventing them from launching an attempt to seize Odesa using its Black Sea fleet.
“Russia will continue to prioritize efforts to degrade and destroy Ukraine’s anti-ship capability. However, Russia’s targeting processes are highly likely routinely undermined by dated intelligence, poor planning, and a top-down approach to operations,” the ministry said.
The United Nations said Monday that grain exports from Ukraine should begin again within days.
Ukrainian officials said they were working to get grain exports going again following the deal Ukraine and Russia signed on Friday. Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said grain exports would begin on Wednesday, according to the Kyiv Independent.
The grain exports will be made from Odesa and two other Black Sea ports, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny, U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said, “and we want to make sure that all conditions are right for the safe travel of ships.”
“Anything that’s not commensurate with that is, of course, not helpful for the success of this initiative,” Haq said as he reiterated Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ condemnation of Russia for launching the Saturday missile attack on Odesa.
Russia said Monday its missile strikes on military installations on Odesa should not affect the agreement to resume grain exports.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the strikes in “no way related to infrastructure that is used for the export of grain.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “There’s nothing in the [grain export] commitments that Russia signed up to in Istanbul that would prohibit us from continuing our special military operation, destroying military infrastructure and other military targets.”
The United Nations and Turkey helped broker the agreement, which calls for Russia’s fleet in the Black Sea to allow safe passage through areas that Russia has blockaded since it launched its invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Turkey expects Russia and Ukraine to adhere to the agreement.
Erdogan told state broadcaster TRT Haber, “We expect them to own up to the deals they signed and to act according to the responsibilities they undertook,” according to Reuters news agency.
The White House said Monday the attack casts doubt on Russia’s intentions to follow through with the agreement.
“We are going to be watching this closely to see if Russia meets their commitments under this arrangement since this attack casts serious doubt on Russia’s credibility,” a National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.
Russia’s natural gas giant Gazprom added to the economic and political tensions of the war by announcing Monday it would again cut deliveries to Europe. The company said it would reduce gas flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which links Russia to Germany, to 20% of capacity.
The move raised fears that Russia was trying to pressure Europe over its support for Ukraine.
Russia said the action was taken because of mechanical reasons, while Germany said it saw no technical reason for the reduction.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address on Monday that Russia was using the gas restrictions to inflict “terror” on Europe, and he called for the European Union’s next sanctions package against Moscow to be “significantly stronger.”
“All this is done by Russia on purpose to make it as difficult as possible for Europeans to prepare for winter,” he said.
U.S. intelligence has concluded that Russia “almost certainly is using so-called filtration operations to conduct the detention and forced deportation of Ukrainian civilians to Russia.”
Russia uses such operations to temporarily detain and screen Ukrainians to identify anyone perceived as a threat to Moscow, according to a memo by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released on the agency’s website Friday.
The ODNI said Ukrainians often face one of three fates after undergoing filtration.
Those who are deemed “non-threatening” to Russia may be permitted to remain in Ukraine with certain restrictions. Those deemed “less threatening, but still potentially resistant to Russian occupation” face forcible deportation to Russia.
And Ukrainians found to be most threatening to Russia, including anyone with ties to the military, “probably are detained in prisons in eastern Ukraine and Russia, though little is known about their fates,” according to the memo.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.