Russia launches wave of air attacks on southern, eastern Ukraine

Ukraine’s air force said the Odesa, Mykolaiv, Donetsk, Kherson, Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions are under attack threat.

Ukrainian soldiers fire a cannon near Bakhmut, an eastern city where fierce battles against Russian forces have been taking place, in the Donetsk region
Ukrainian soldiers fire a cannon near Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region [File: Libkos/AP Photo]

Russia has launched air attacks on targets in southern and eastern Ukraine using drones and possibly ballistic missiles, Ukraine’s air force said.

The southern port of Odesa and the Mykolaiv, Donetsk, Kherson, Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions were all under threat of Russian drone attacks, the air force said on the Telegram messaging app in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

A fire broke out in the port of Mykolaiv late on Monday, the mayor said. The port city provides Ukraine with access to the Black Sea.

“It’s quite serious,” Mykolaiv’s Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said on the Telegram messaging app, adding that more detail on the fire will be released later in the morning.

Video footage circulating on social media purported to show Iranian-made Shahed drones attacking targets in the Mykolaiv region.

There was no independent confirmation of the attack or the authenticity of the footage.

Oleh Kiper, the head of the Odesa region’s military administration, said air defence systems there were engaged in repelling several waves of Russian drone attacks.

“Several waves of attacks are likely,” Kiper said on Telegram.

Russia may also be using ballistic weaponry to attack the regions of Poltava, Cherkasy, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv and Kirovohrad, the air force added.

Air raid alerts sounded in many Ukrainian regions for hours on Tuesday morning, before being called off at about 04:30am local time (01:30 GMT).

Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Odesa military administration, said on Telegram that details of the attack there would be released later.

“Thank you all for your endurance,” he said.

The attack on the Odesa region in southern Ukraine, which is home to maritime terminals, comes hours after Russia refused to extend a deal allowing the safe export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports.

Russia’s full-scale invasion last year saw Ukraine’s Black Sea ports blocked by Russian warships until an agreement, reached in July 2022, allowed for the passage of critical grain exports from Ukraine. Russia refused to extend the grain deal on Monday, arguing that elements of the agreement allowing for the export of Russian food and fertilisers had not been honoured.

Moscow’s withdrawal from the deal also followed after an attack on a Russian-built bridge linking Ukraine’s annexed Crimean peninsula to Russia’s Krasnodar region earlier on Monday.

According to Russia, unmanned remote-controlled boats had detonated explosives at the structure on Monday morning, killing a husband and wife and seriously injuring their daughter who were reportedly in a car on the bridge at the time of the blast.

Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened military retaliation for the attack on the bridge.

“Naturally, Russia’s response will follow. The defence ministry is working on relevant proposals,” Putin said at a meeting of the Russian leadership in Moscow on Monday evening, as reported by the TASS state news agency.

“What happened is yet another terrorist act of the Kyiv regime,” he said.

Russia said on Tuesday that its air defences and electronic countermeasure systems had brought down 28 Ukrainian drones over Crimea in the early hours of the morning, the state-run RIA news agency cited the Russian defence ministry as saying.

The drone attacks caused no casualties or damage, the ministry said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies