Russia launches intense nighttime attacks across Ukraine

Over 2,200 people were evacuated from four villages

UKRAINE-CRISIS/ATTACK-ODESA Children's bicycles are seen among debris in an apartment building damaged during Russian missile and drone strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near Odesa, Ukraine July 19, 2023 | Reuters

Missiles and drones launched by Russia in an intense series of nation-wide nightime air attacks have damaged critical port infrastructure in southern Ukraine, including grain and oil terminals, and wounded at least 12 people, Ukrainian officials said Wednesday.

  The air raid targeted the southern port city of Odesa for a second night in a row, days after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would halt its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which enabled crucial grain exports to reach the world, including many countries facing the threat of hunger.

Meanwhile, Russian emergency officials in Crimea said that more than 2,200 people were evacuated from four villages because of a fire at a military facility. The fire also caused the closure of an important highway, according to Sergey Aksyonov, the Russia-appointed head of the peninsula, which was annexed in 2014.

He didn't specify a cause for the fire at the facility in Kirovsky district, which came two days after an attack on a bridge linking Russia to Crimea that the Kremlin has blamed on Ukraine.

A difficult night of air attacks for all of Ukraine, Serhii Popko, head of the Kyiv City Military Administration, said in a statement on Telegram. Ukrainian authorities reported more drones and missiles sent against more parts of Ukraine than in recent days.

Popko said the attacks were especially fierce in Odesa for a second consecutive night. The Ukrainian army's Operational Command South reported that at least 12 civilians sustained injuries in the attack on the Odesa region.

Odesa's regional Gov Oleh Kiper said the attack included dozens of missiles and strike drones aimed at the port and infrastructure facilities. Debris from missiles and drones that were shot down fell on apartment buildings, seaside resorts and warehouses, sparking fires and injuring several people.

Russia targeted the port and key infrastructure with Oniks and Kh-22 missiles, Kiper said. Grain and oil terminals were hit, damaging storage tanks, loading equipment and causing a fire. Emergency service workers were deployed.

At least six residents of Odesa, including a 9-year-old boy, have sought medical assistance, because of injuries caused by shattered glass and other objects.

The remnants of a downed Kh-59 missile created a large crater in another part of the city, leaving three civilians injured and several buildings damaged.

Eight Shahed drones were also shot down in the wider Odesa region, where two warehouses containing tobacco and fireworks were reported damaged.

Russia also attacked Kyiv with Iranian-made Shahed drones but with no result, said Popko. Ukrainian air defence intercepted all the drones aimed at the capital and a preliminary investigation showed there were no casualties.

In Ukraine's Zhytomyr region, Russian drone attacks damaged some infrastructure and private homes, according to regional Gov Vitalii Bunechko. No casualties were reported.

Officials in the Ukrainian regions of Poltava and Kirovohrad also reported attacks.

The latest barrage came one day after Russia carried out what Moscow's Defense Ministry described as a strike of retribution on Ukrainian military facilities near Odesa and the coastal city of Mykolaiv, using sea-launched precision weapons.

Russia blames Ukraine for a July 17 strike on the Kerch Bridge, which links Russia with the Crimea, and is a key artery for military and civilian supplies.

Ukraine's top security agency appeared to tacitly admit to a role in the July 17 attack, but stopped short of directly claiming responsibility, echoing their responses after previous similar attacks on the Kerch Bridge.

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