Ukraine conflict enters 6th month, Moscow says it targeted military targets in Odessa
The Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its sixth month on Sunday, the day after strikes on the port of Odessa which threaten the application of the agreement on the resumption of grain exports blocked by the war.
Moscow assured Sunday that its strikes had destroyed the day before a Ukrainian military ship and missiles delivered by the United States in the port of Odessa, vital for the export of Ukrainian cereals.
“A Ukrainian army ship repair and modernization plant has also been put out of use,” the ministry said in a statement posted on its Telegram account.
Earlier in the day, the spokeswoman for Russian diplomacy, Maria Zakharova, said that a Ukrainian “military star” had been destroyed during the strike.
“Kalibr missiles destroyed military infrastructure in the port of Odessa, with a high-precision strike,” she wrote on Telegram, in response to a statement by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saying the strikes destroyed the possibility of a dialogue or an agreement with Moscow.
AFP was unable to confirm the Russian statements from an independent source.
After the shootings in Odessa, Ukraine accused Vladimir Putin of having “spit in the face” of the UN and Turkey and of compromising the application of the agreement signed on Friday in Istanbul on the resumption of grain exports blocked by the conflict.
On Saturday, Russia had however denied to Turkey having been involved in these strikes: “The Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack and that they were examining the question very closely”, had assured Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
A spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force said that “the port of Odessa, where grain is processed for shipment, was bombed. We shot down two missiles and two more missiles hit the territory of the port, where, obviously, there are cereals”.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia – two countries which notably provide 30% of world wheat exports – has led to a surge in grain and oil prices, hitting hard the African continent which is very dependent on these countries for its supply. .
– No respite on the front –
The war in Ukraine, which is entering its sixth month, knows no respite on the frontlines of Mykolaiv (south), in the Kharkiv region, the second largest city in the country located in the northeast, in the Kherson region ( south), and in the two pro-Russian separatist territories of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian presidency.
“Mykolaiv was again bombarded” on Sunday morning after being targeted on Saturday evening by four Kalibr-type cruise missiles”, which injured five people including a teenager and damaged several buildings, according to this source.
The Ukrainian presidency also reported shelling in the Kharkiv region, where “several residential buildings were damaged and residential buildings were set on fire”.
In addition, kyiv reports a worrying situation in the region of Kherson largely occupied by Russian forces since their invasion of Ukraine on February 24, even if the Ukrainians are carrying out a counterattack there. “Residents of almost all districts in the region (…) report numerous shellings and explosions”, according to the same source.
– Thousands dead –
The war in Ukraine, which has also forced the exodus of millions of people, has claimed thousands of lives.
There is no overall assessment of civilian victims of the conflict, but the UN has counted nearly 5,000 confirmed dead, including more than 300 children, even if the true number is undoubtedly much higher. For the city of Mariupol (south-east) alone, the Ukrainian authorities speak of some 20,000 dead.
On the military level, the Chief of the British Armed Forces, Admiral Tony Radakin, estimated last Sunday at 50,000 the number of Russian soldiers killed or wounded. kyiv reported 10,000 dead in its troops.
No independent statistics are available.
According to Unesco, more than 150 cultural sites have also been partially or totally destroyed.
– Pyongyang accuses –
North Korea, which has just officially recognized two self-proclaimed pro-Russian separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, accused Washington on Sunday of manufacturing biological weapons in Ukraine, echoing an accusation already made by Russia and dismissed by the UN in March.
Washington has “installed numerous biological laboratories in dozens of countries and regions, including Ukraine, in defiance of international treaties”, writes the official North Korean news agency KCNA, referring to elements “detected” by Russia.
Washington and kyiv refute the existence of laboratories intended to produce biological weapons in Ukraine. The United States fears that these allegations indicate an intention by Moscow to soon use such weapons in Ukraine.
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