Russia has launched a second night of air attacks on Ukraine’s port city of Odesa as well as raids on the capital Kyiv, Ukrainian officials said, while there were also reports of attacks in the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula.
Odesa regional Governor Oleh Kiper said on social media early on Wednesday that air defence systems were engaged in repelling what was described as a “massive” Russian air attack and urged residents to stay in shelters.
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The attack was “very powerful, truly massive,” Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for the Odesa military administration, said in a voice message on his Telegram channel on Wednesday.
“It was a hellish night,” he said, adding that details on damage and casualties would be released later.
A video posted on social media purporting to show the aftermath of a Russian air attack on Odesa showed a multi-storey apartment building with several windows blown out and shards of glass on the street.
Air defence systems were also engaged in repelling a Russian air attack on Kyiv, the capital’s military administration said on the Telegram messaging app. A witness reported hearing blasts and smoke rising near Kyiv, according to the Reuters news agency.
Ukrainian online news reported Kyiv city military administration head Serhii Popko saying that all Russian drones that had attacked the capital were shot down.
“A difficult night of air attacks for all of Ukraine… Odesa especially. But the enemy did not forget about Kyiv either,” Popko was quoted as saying on Telegram.
The Russian attack with Iranian-made Shahed drones had come “to no avail”, he was quoted as saying, adding that no casualties or damage to infrastructure had yet been reported.
The attacks on Odesa, one of Ukraine’s main ports for exporting grain, followed a pledge of retaliation by Russia after a blast on a bridge linking Russia to the Crimean Peninsula on Monday, which Moscow blamed on Ukraine.
Shortly after the Crimean Bridge was hit on Monday, Moscow withdrew from an agreement allowing the export of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, a move the United Nations said risked creating hunger around the world.
Bratchuk, the spokesperson for the Odesa military administration, said earlier on Wednesday morning that Russia’s attacks on the port city were designed to frighten the world and those who want to see the export of vital grain supplies from Ukraine continue.
“[They] are trying to scare the whole world, especially those who want to work for the grain corridor … Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations,” Bratchuk said.
“But I think that all normal, rational people will look and say: Odesa was not afraid, is not afraid and will not be afraid – we will work,” he said.
The RBC-Ukraine news agency reported that there was also an attack on Crimea, with explosions sounding at the Krynychky military training grounds.
The Moscow-installed governor of Crimea said on Wednesday that a fire broke out at the military training grounds in the Kirovske district on the Crimean Peninsula. A fire there had forced the closure of the nearby Tavrida Highway, Sergei Aksyonov said on Telegram.
Online news in Ukraine also said early on Wednesday morning that residents of Sevastopol, the capital of Russian-annexed Crimea, reported hearing explosions in the port city where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based. Online footage also purported to show missiles being launched from Sevastopol.
There were no further details or independent confirmation of events in Sevastopol.
Pro-Kremlin military bloggers said the attacks on Odesa were “massive” and Moscow was using a combination of missiles and drones on the city and other regions.
On Tuesday, Russia’s defence ministry said it had hit military targets in two Ukrainian port cities overnight as “a mass revenge strike” in response to the attack on the Crimean Bridge.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies