Russian missile strikes on Odessa
Since Russia suspended the grain agreement the Ukrainian port city of Odessa has been massively targeted by Russian missile and drone strikes. Civilian buildings in the old town, which is a protected Unesco World Heritage Site, have also been hit, and the Orthodox Transfiguration Cathedral has been severely damaged. What do these attacks mean for the course of the war?
A defenceless city in a stagnating war
The latest attacks on Odessa show that the city has essentially become fair game since Russia cancelled the grain agreement, laments De Volkskrant:
“The infrastructure at its ports, which is necessary for the storage, transshipment and export of grain and other agricultural products, was also damaged or destroyed in the process. ... The developments surrounding the grain agreement show that here too the war — as on the battlefield — has reached a stagnation phase. The tanks supplied to Ukraine by the West have made little progress due to a lack of air support, and the Russian missiles are causing so much damage in Odessa due to lacking air defence.”
Putin still has the upper hand in annexed territories
Ukraine should refrain from attacking Russian troops and focus on preserving the territories it already holds, pro-government daily Sabah advises:
“No matter how many men Ukraine sends to the front and how many weapons it possesses, it is no longer possible for it to drive Russia out of the territories it has annexed by military means. Therefore, the only way out for Kyiv is to seek a solution, albeit a tragic one, that protects its remaining territories. In this context, for Kyiv Putin’s visit to Turkey next month is regarded as the last exit before the tunnel.”
Blackmail to push through negotiations?
Russia wants to take away Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea for good, says the head of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, on his Facebook page:
“The Kremlin is clearly planning to create the conditions for an imminent famine, especially for African countries, and to unsettle Europe with an increase in migration. The Russians want to blackmail the West into negotiations, they want it to accept Putin’s ‘grain ultimatum’, or in other words the resumption of Russian ammonia exports and the lifting of certain sanctions and other restrictions. In return, the destruction of the Ukrainian infrastructure that allows the ‘grain corridor’ to function is intended to make the world dependent on Russian grain and its logistics and capabilities.”