Los Angeles Times

Russia says it hit only military sites at port

The missile attack on Odesa in the south tests agreement with Ukraine on resuming grain shipments.

- By Susie Blann Blann writes for the Associated Press.

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian defense officials insisted Sunday that an airstrike on the Ukrainian port of Odesa hit only military targets, but the attack tested an agreement on resuming grain shipments that the two countries signed less than a day before the assault.

Long-range missiles destroyed a docked Ukrainian warship and a warehouse holding Harpoon anti-ship missiles supplied by the U.S., Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenko­v said at a daily briefing.

Speaking late Saturday in his nightly televised address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the attack on Odesa “destroyed the very possibilit­y” of dialogue with Russia.

Under the grain-shipment agreement obtained by the Associated Press, both Kyiv and Moscow agreed to not target vessels and port facilities involved in the initiative, including the ports of Odesa, Chernomors­k and Yuzhny.

The Ukrainian military said the attack involved four cruise missiles, two of which were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.

Command spokeswoma­n Nataliya Humenyuk said no grain storage facilities were hit. Turkey’s defense minister, however, said he had heard reports from Ukrainian authoritie­s that one missile struck a grain silo while another landed nearby, although neither affected loading at Odesa’s docks.

It was not immediatel­y clear how the airstrike would affect plans to resume shipping Ukrainian grain by sea in safe corridors out of the ports.

Russia and Ukraine on Friday signed identical agreements with the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul aimed at clearing the way for the shipment of millions of tons of desperatel­y needed Ukrainian grain, as well as the export of Russian grain and fertilizer. Senior U.N. officials voiced hopes that the deal would end a months-long standoff brought about by the war in Ukraine that threatened food security around the globe.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Ukrainian authoritie­s reported that Russian shelling continued to kill and injure civilians in Ukraine’s south and east.

The governor of the eastern region of Donetsk, one of two areas that make up Ukraine’s industrial heartland of Donbas and a key focus of Russia’s offensive, said that two civilians had been killed and two more had been injured over the previous 24 hours.

The U.K. military on Sunday morning reported in its daily intelligen­ce update that Russia was making “minimal progress” in its ongoing Donbas offensive, which it said remained small scale and focused on the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.

The general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces confirmed in its regular update that Russia was “conducting military operations to create conditions” for an assault on Bakhmut, while firing on surroundin­g settlement­s and battling Ukrainian defenders for control of a nearby thermal plant.

In Ukraine’s south, regional officials said that at least five civilians were wounded by Russian shells in the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

“Also, as a result of the scattering of munitions and their fragments, fires occurred in open areas in the city,” said Vitaliy Kim, governor of the Mykolaiv region. In other developmen­ts:

■ A Washington-based think tank says Ukrainian forces are probably preparing to launch or have launched a counteroff­ensive in the Kherson region.

The Institute for the Study of War quoted advisor Serhiy Khlan of the Kherson oblast administra­tion as saying Ukrainian forces have seized unspecifie­d settlement­s in the region, but had called on civilians to remain silent on the progress of the counteroff­ensive until Ukrainian authoritie­s release official statements.

The Institute for the Study of War notes that open-source informatio­n on any progress by Ukrainian troops “will likely be limited and lag behind events.”

■ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials as his country seeks to break diplomatic isolation and sanctions by the West over its invasion of Ukraine.

Lavrov landed in Cairo late Saturday, the first leg of his Africa trip that will include stops in Ethiopia, Uganda and Congo, according to Russia’s state-run RT television network.

Speaking at a news conference after bilateral talks with his Egyptian counterpar­t, Sameh Shoukry, on Sunday, Lavrov said he had “reaffirmed the commitment of Russian grain exporters to fulfill all their obligation­s” in the wake of the U.N.-backed deal to unblock grain shipments.

■ Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a speech in Romania that Western sanctions against Russia have failed and that the war in Ukraine will not end “until there is a RussianU.S. peace negotiatio­n.”

Orban said Saturday in a speech in Baile Tusnad in Romania that “a new strategy is needed which should focus on peace talks ... instead of winning the war.”

“The situation is that today we are sitting in a car with flat tires on all four wheels,” he said. “It is quite obvious that the war cannot be won this way. Ukrainians will never win a war against Russia with American training officers and weapons.”

The leader said that had Donald Trump and Germany’s Angela Merkel still been in charge in their countries, “then this war would never have broken out.”

 ?? Odesa City Hall Press Office ?? FIREFIGHTE­RS in Odesa work Saturday to put out a blaze at the port after a Russian attack. The Ukrainian military said the assault involved four cruise missiles, two of which were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.
Odesa City Hall Press Office FIREFIGHTE­RS in Odesa work Saturday to put out a blaze at the port after a Russian attack. The Ukrainian military said the assault involved four cruise missiles, two of which were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States