Ukrainian officials disclosed on Thursday, July 20, 2023, that Russian air attacks ravaged Ukraine’s southern cities for the third consecutive night and wounded at least 21 people.
Russia’s attacks on southern Ukraine have become more intense this week. This comes after Russia suspended its participation in the Black Sea agreement, a wartime deal that allowed Ukraine to send grain to countries facing the threat of hunger.
Russia had also vowed “retribution” earlier this week for an attack that damaged the Crimean bridge, crucial bridge between Russia and the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula. Russian officials blamed Ukraine for it.
Governor Vitalii Kim revealed in a statement on Telegram that at least 19 people were injured overnight in Mykolaiv, a southern city close to the Black Sea.
In Mykolaiv, Russian strikes destroyed several floors of a three-story building and caused a fire that affected an area of 450 square meters (4,800 square feet) and burned for hours. Two people were hospitalized, including a child, the regional Governor said.
In the port city of Odesa, on the other hand, at least eight others were hurt and a security guard was killed following a Russian air attack that damaged buildings in the city center and caused a fire affecting an area of 300 square meters (3,200 square feet), Odesa Governor, Oleh Kiper disclosed.
According to Ukraine’s air force, five cruise missiles and 13 attack drones launched by Russian forces overnight at the southern Mykolaiv and Odesa regions were destroyed.
It stated that Russia fired 19 cruise missiles and 19 drones in total, but did not specify exactly where the others struck.
The strikes came one day after an intense Russian bombardment using drones and missiles damaged critical port infrastructure in Odesa, including grain and oil terminals. The attack destroyed at least 60,000 tons of grain.
Also on Thursday, The European Union’s Foreign Affairs Chief, Josep Borrell condemned Russia’s targeting of grain storage facilities.
“More than 60,000 tons of grain has been burned,” Borrell said in Brussels while commenting on Moscow’s recent tactics. “So not only they withdraw from the grain agreement … but they are burning the grain,” he added.
Meanwhile, Moscow-appointed Governor of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, reported on Thursday that “an enemy drone”; an apparent reference to Ukraine, attacked a settlement in the peninsula’s northwest.
He said that the attack damaged several administrative buildings and killed a teenage girl.
In a post on Twitter, Head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, Andriy Yermak described the latest strikes as “Russian terror”, emphasizing that they were meant to disrupt food supplies in the global south.
“Russian terror is perpetrated against peaceful people and infrastructure facilities … aiming to destroy the food supply chain to the countries of the Global South,” Yermak tweeted.
In another tweet minutes later, Yermak called for stronger Russian sanctions to drastically affect its economy.
“We must unite against Russian evil. Russia’s economy should suffer a devastating sanctions blow, the military-industrial complex should be limited in its ability to produce weapons, and Ukraine should receive more weapons for defense of the sky and offensive actions.”Andriy Yermak
Commenting on Thursday’s attacks in Odesa and Mykolaiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted in a tweet that “Russian terrorists” continue to destroy lives.
Zelenskyy added, “The evil state has no missiles that are more powerful than our will to save lives, support each other and win.”
“I thank everyone who defends our cities, our people, our sky! I am grateful to all our warriors, rescuers, doctors, local authorities, volunteers… to everyone involved in eliminating the consequences of Russian terror!”Volodymyr Zelenskyy