The Current Situation in Odesa: A Target of Russian Aggression
The city of Odesa, situated on the Black Sea in Ukraine, has once again fallen victim to Russian aggression. Local authorities have reported a series of attacks throughout the week, resulting in significant damage to the city’s vital port structures. Tragically, one person has lost their life, and 22 individuals have been severely injured. Among the wounded are four children. In addition, the historic Transfiguration Cathedral, a revered Orthodox cathedral in Odesa, has suffered extensive damage as a result of the bombings.
A Fallout from Moscow’s Grain Agreement Withdrawal
The ongoing assault on Odesa by Russia is believed to be linked to Moscow’s recent decision to withdraw from a notable grain agreement. This development comes as Kyiv continues its efforts to regain control over its occupied regions. Odesa plays a crucial role in the export of grain, making it a likely target for these relentless attacks.
Residential Buildings Destroyed, Leaving Residents Trapped
The relentless strikes on Odesa have not only targeted port structures but have also caused the destruction of six residential buildings, including apartment complexes. The heart of Odesa has seen the devastating effects of the attacks, with residents finding themselves trapped in their own homes due to the damage inflicted. Debris litters the streets, obstructing roads, and power lines have been damaged. Despite the dire circumstances, some residents, like 85-year-old Svitlana Molcharova, have refused to leave their ruined apartments.
The Transfiguration Cathedral Suffers Extensive Damage
The Transfiguration Cathedral, a significant symbol of faith in Odesa and one of the largest Orthodox cathedrals, has been severely impacted by the attacks. Archdeacon Andrii Palchuk describes the situation as catastrophic, with half of the cathedral now without a roof. A Russian missile struck the building directly, causing extensive destruction that reached down to the basement. Two individuals inside the cathedral at the time of the attack were injured. Despite the despairing situation, Palchuk remains hopeful that the cathedral can be restored with divine intervention.
Controversy Surrounding Odesa’s Heritage Status
Earlier this year, Odesa’s historical center was deemed an endangered World Heritage Site by UNESCO, despite objections from Russia. On the same day as the attacks, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that Russian forces had targeted locations in Odesa, claiming they were sites of “terrorist acts against the Russian Federation.” The ministry denied responsibility for the destruction of the Transfiguration Cathedral, attributing it to a Ukrainian missile.+
Attacks Devastate Ukraine’s Export Facilities
Russian attacks on Odesa and neighboring Chornomorsk have caused significant damage to export facilities, resulting in the destruction of 60,000 tons of grain, according to Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry. These attacks occurred shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which aimed to ensure the flow of Ukrainian exports to countries facing famine. In response to an attack on the crucial Kerch Bridge, Putin has vowed to retaliate against Kyiv.