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Ukraine’s coastline hit again as UN preps first Black Sea export shipment of grains

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Ukraine’s coastline was again hit Tuesday in a series of strikes less than a week after a landmark deal was signed to secure the safe export of food products in the Black Sea and just days before the U.N. has planned the first shipment. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took to Instagram to show the devastation in the small beach town of Zatoka in the Odesa region, some 35 miles south of the port city.

“An ordinary village of Zatoka. People rested and lived. Just lived,” Zelenskyy wrote. “No bases, no troops.”

A woman walks among apartment buildings destroyed by Russian shelling on the outskirts of Odesa, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. 

A woman walks among apartment buildings destroyed by Russian shelling on the outskirts of Odesa, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. 
(G3 Box News Photo/Michael Shtekel)

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Zelenskyy called Russian forces responsible for the attack “terrorists” and said, “Everyone, every ‘liberator’ who destroys our lives” will be held “responsible.”

It is unclear if there were any casualties or how many missiles were fired on the former vacation hotspot. 

However, farther northeast along Ukraine’s coastline, the port city of Mykolaiv was also hit in a series of 18 missile strikes, according to a regional military official.

“In the morning we had six X-59 missiles from TU aircraft and 12 S-300 missiles. Not all of them hit the target, some were shot down, some missed,” said head of Mykolaiv Regional Military Administration Vitaliy Kim, first reported Interfax.

Kim said some critical infrastructure was hit but noted that there were no casualties.

“They destroyed three sections of the railway bridge that were not working,” he said. “In general, it was very loud.”

Firefighters work at a damaged residential building following Russian shelling on the outskirts of Odesa, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. 

Firefighters work at a damaged residential building following Russian shelling on the outskirts of Odesa, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. 
(G3 Box News Photo/Michael Shtekel)

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The official said that another strike also hit the port of Yuzhne, located in the Odesa region and roughly 50 miles from Mykolaiv, though G3 Box News could not find additional reports supporting the claim that Yuzhne was also hit.

The series of strikes comes just one day after a U.N. spokesperson said the first shipment agreed to under the Black Sea Initiative will launch in a “few days.”

“The Joint Coordination Centre will be liaising with the shipping industry and publishing detailed procedures for ships in the very near future,” Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the secretary-general, said in reference to the operational headquarters in Turkey where the U.N., Ukraine and Russia will oversee Black Sea exports. 

The Tuesday strikes are the second attack on Ukrainian port cities less than a week after officials from Kyiv and Moscow agreed to a deal to secure the safe passage of merchant ships transporting critical exports to curb the global food crisis. 

The exact details on agreement still remain unclear, but according to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, the deal opened “a path for significant volumes of commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea – Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.”

 Under the deal, Russia agreed to a ceasefire in order to allow Ukrainian naval vessels to safely transport the merchant ships through mine infested waters. 

Russia on Saturday denied striking Odesa and told Turkish officials it would investigate the incident.

People walk in a yard of a apartment building destroyed by Russian shelling on the outskirts of Odesa, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. 

People walk in a yard of a apartment building destroyed by Russian shelling on the outskirts of Odesa, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. 
(G3 Box News Photo/Michael Shtekel)

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“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,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusai Akar said in a statement according to Voice of America. “The fact that such an incident took place right after the agreement we made yesterday really worried us.”

G3 Box News could not immediately reach the U.N. for comment.

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