Ukraine War Updates: Russia Tightens Black Sea Blockade, Hits Port Cities And Practices Seizing Ships
Ukrainian drones hit Crimea weapons depot, Russians advance in Kharkiv region.
After ending a deal that allowed Ukraine to ship grain though the Black Sea corridor, Russia is pounding the country’s southern port cities with drones and missiles. The Russian strikes along the Black Sea coast destroyed port facilities and grain terminals.
National Police published a video of the first moments after the Russian attack on Odesa last night as the police officers rushed to help.
This is the reality Ukraine has to live in. pic.twitter.com/xUpEJaL7mE
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) July 21, 2023
The Russian escalation, which began after Monday’s drone strike by Ukraine on a key bridge connecting occupied Crimea to mainland Russia earlier this week, is now playing out in the Black Sea where the Russians are carrying out drills to capture Ukrainian ships. The move could draw U.S. and NATO countries into a direct conflict with Russia as they continue to supply Kyiv with military and humanitarian aid.
“Russia pounded Ukrainian food export facilities for a fourth day in a row on Friday and practised seizing ships in the Black Sea,” Reuters reported. “Russia said its Black Sea fleet had practised firing rockets at ‘floating targets’ and it would deem all ships heading for Ukrainian waters to be potentially carrying arms.”
On Friday, the Associated Press reported the extent of Russian air strikes:
Russia followed its withdrawal from a grain export deal by expanding its attacks from port infrastructure to farm storage buildings in Ukraine’s Odesa region Friday, while also practicing a Black Sea blockade.
Other Russian missiles damaged what officials described only as an “important infrastructure facility” southwest of the port city of Odesa, in what appeared to be an effort to cripple Ukraine’s food exports. (…)
In the attack on the storage site, two low-flying cruise missiles started a blaze, then another struck during firefighting efforts, regional Gov. Oleh Kiper said. The barrage injured two people, damaged equipment and destroyed 100 metric tons (110 tons) of peas and 20 metric tons (22 tons) of barley, Kiper said.
Russia targeted Ukrainian critical grain export infrastructure after vowing to retaliate for what it said was a Ukrainian attack that damaged a crucial bridge between Russia and the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Russia’s declaration to treat the Ukrainian civilian shipping sector as a potential military target is already having an impact on the global food prices. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain producers.
“Wheat prices have risen sharply on global markets after Russia said it would treat ships heading for Ukrainian ports as potential military targets,” the BBC reported Friday. “Wheat prices on the European stock exchange soared by 8.2% on Wednesday from the previous day, to €253.75 (£220; $284) per tonne, while corn prices were up 5.4%.”
Battlefield updates: Ukraine hits Crimea weapons depot, Russians advance in Kharkiv
Meanwhile, the war in eastern Ukraine continues—with both side claiming military successes. Ukraine on Saturday hit a Russian arms depot in Crimea. “A Ukrainian drone attack on Moscow-annexed Crimea caused the ‘detonation’ of an ammunition depot Saturday, the Moscow-installed leader of the peninsula said, ordering the evacuation of people living within five kilometres of the attack and halting rail traffic,” the French news agency AFP reported.
The strike on the weapons depot alarmed the occupying Russian authorities in Crimea. The recently damaged bridge that connects the peninsula to mainland Russia has been closed. “A drone attack on an ammunition depot in Crimea has led to civilian evacuations and disrupted transport, Russian authorities have said,” the BBC reported Saturday. “Rail services across the Kerch bridge have also reportedly been halted.”
CRIMEA’S CLOSER TO FREEDOM
⚡️ "The 🇺🇦 Defense Forces destroyed the oil depot and warehouses of the 🇷🇺 Army in the temporarily 🇷🇺-occupied Crimea.”
– 🇺🇦 Military pic.twitter.com/h3mrRt7hrh
— Jason Jay Smart (@officejjsmart) July 22, 2023
Russian forces appear to be gaining some ground in the Kharkiv region, an area they abandoned during the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the summer of 2022. “As Ukraine’s counteroffensive makes slow progress in the south and southeast, it’s the Russians who’ve gone on the attack in the northeastern Kharkiv region,” the public broadcaster France24 reported Friday. “In recent days Russian forces have advanced by a kilometre or more towards the Ukrainian-held town of Kupyansk.”DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.