Ukraine updates: Russia targets Ukrainian ports

Russia has targeted the ports of Odesa and Mykolaiv after threatening cargo vessels traveling to Ukraine

The White House says Moscow may seek to blame Kyiv for shipping attacks (Photo: DW)
The White House says Moscow may seek to blame Kyiv for shipping attacks (Photo: DW)


For the third night in a row, Russia has targeted airstrikes on Ukrainian ports in the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions along the Black Sea. The ports were used to export Ukrainian grain to the global market until Russia withdrew from an agreement guaranteeing the safety of the ships carrying foodstuffs.

Here are more major developments in Russia's war in Ukraine from Thursday, July 20:

Russia targets Odesa for third night

Russia has launched a third night of air strikes on the Odesa region on the Black Sea, with explosions heard from the port overnight into Thursday.

Ukrainian air defenses were said to be active in the area, with the Ukrainian air force having warned on Telegram that supersonic anti-ship missile launches had been registered in the direction of the Odesa region.

Officials called on people to stay under cover.

"As a result of the Russian attack, there is destruction in the center of Odesa," said regional governor Oleg Kiper.

Authorities had information on "two hospitalized victims," he said, without giving details.

Russia has already struck Ukraine's grain export ports in Odesa, with missile and drone attacks, since leaving the Black Sea Grain Deal this week.

Nine injured in attack on port city of Mykolaiv

At least nine people have been wounded in a Russian strike on the Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv, regional governor Vitaliy Kim said.

Kim wrote on the Telegram messaging app that a three-story residential building was hit in the Mykolaiv city center.

Four adults and five children were said to have been wounded.

"There is a huge hole in the ground near a three-story residential building," Mykolaiv's mayor Oleksandr Senkevych wrote on Telegram.

He said emergency services were working at the site.

"At least five residential high-rise buildings were damaged," he said.

"Several garages" were said to be on fire at another location.

Mykolaiv is on the Black Sea, some 170 kilometers (100 miles) from Moscow-annexed Crimea. It had been frequently the target of Russian attacks.

An "industrial facility" in the city was hit on Tuesday just hours after the Kremlin refused to extend a deal allowing the safe export of grain from Ukraine.

US says Russia may attack civilian shipping, blame Ukraine

The White House has warned Russia may expand its targeting of Ukrainian grain facilities to include attacks on civilian shipping in the Black Sea.

It also warned that Moscow would likely seek to blame Kyiv for any such attack.

White House National Security Council spokesperson Adam Hodge says US officials have information showing Russia has laid additional sea mines in the approaches to Ukrainian ports.

"We believe that this is a coordinated effort to justify any attacks against civilian ships in the Black Sea and lay blame on Ukraine for these attacks," he said.

"In addition to this coordinated effort in the Black Sea, we have already observed that Russia targeted Ukraine's grain export ports in Odesa with missiles and drones on July 18 and 19, resulting in the destruction of agricultural infrastructure and 60,000 tons of grain," he said.

Russia on Wednesday said it would view cargo ships traveling to Ukraine through the Black Sea as potential military targets.

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