Russia Belatedly Admits Strike On Odessa Port – Says Warship With US Missiles “Destroyed”
After initially denying it, Russia has belatedly confirmed that its missiles struck the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa on Saturday, resulting in UN condemnation, and the US and its allies expressing outrage.
But while the Ukrainian government said Russia’s military targeted grain infrastructure in an attempt to thwart the Istanbul grain export deal it just signed under UN auspices, the new Russian Foreign Ministry admission identified that a Ukrainian warship with US-supplied missiles aboard was the target.
“In the seaport of Odessa, on the territory of a shipyard, a docked Ukrainian warship and a warehouse of Harpoon anti-ship missiles, supplied by the US to the Kiev regime, have been destroyed by sea-based high-precision long-range missiles,” the ministry said Sunday.
⚡️Russia‘s Ministry of Defense confirmed the strike on the port of Odessa.
The ministry said that the Russian military destroyed a Ukrainian combat boat and a Harpoon missile depot, and hit a shipyard near the port.
— 🆁🆄🆂🆂🅸🅰🅽 🅼🅰🆁🅺🅴🆃 (@russian_market) July 24, 2022
Kremlin spokesperson Maria Zakharova also noted on her Telegram account that “Kalibr missiles destroyed military infrastructure in the port of Odessa, with a high-precision strike.”
Ukraine had alleged four cruise missiles were launched, two of which it said anti-air defenses had intercepted. Late in the day Saturday US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a blistering statement, saying, “This attack casts serious doubt on the credibility of Russia’s commitment to yesterday’s deal and undermines the work of the UN, Turkey, and Ukraine to get critical food to world markets.”
He added: “Russia bears responsibility for deepening the global food crisis and must stop its aggression and fully implement the deal to which it has agreed.”
Turkey had expressed deep alarm in the wake of the Saturday attack given it puts the Friday deal it just helped broker and finalize in jeopardy, given the tit-for-tat accusations:
“In our contact with Russia, the Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack and that they were examining the issue very closely and in detail,” Defence Minister Hulusai Akar said in a statement.
“The fact that such an incident took place right after the agreement we made yesterday really worried us,” he added.
It seems the quick, automatic response of Russian diplomats in Ankara was to hastily say “it wasn’t us” – despite the avalanche of reports that it was Kalibr missiles used.
Meanwhile, Ukraine says it is still preparing to move the some 20 million tons of grain which has remained blocked since Feb.24 invasion.
Kalibr missiles were fired at #Ukrainian military targets in #Odessa port, where long-range high-precision naval missiles destroyed a Ukrainian warship and a depot of Harpoon anti-ship missiles that the #US has supplied to #Kiev.#Russia #Ukraine #Russia_Ukraine pic.twitter.com/tFO48HAd85
— خالد اسكيف (@khalediskef) July 24, 2022
According to Reuters:
Suspilne quoted Ukraine’s southern military command as saying the port’s grain storage area was not hit. “Unfortunately there are wounded. The port’s infrastructure was damaged,” said Odesa region governor Maksym Marchenko.
But Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Facebook that “we continue technical preparations for the launch of exports of agricultural products from our ports”.
As for the fresh Russian claims of destroying a warship with US-supplied Harpoon missiles on board, the Ukrainian side hasn’t acknowledged this and is unexpected to – just as with prior Russian defense ministry claims this past week that four US-supplied HIMARS long-range missile systems were destroyed.
Sun, 07/24/2022 – 12:00