After the rocket attacks on the port in Odessa, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fundamentally questioned Russia as a negotiating party. “If anyone in the world said earlier that it is necessary to enter into dialogue with Russia, to reach agreements on a ceasefire without liberating our territory from the occupiers, today’s missiles have destroyed the possibility of such statements,” he said in his video message published on Saturday evening.
The rocket attack on the port city was condemned internationally. Selenskyj spoke of an act of “obvious Russian barbarism”. At the beginning of the 151st day of the war, however, he also sees positive things.
In addition to the rocket attacks, there were again heavy fighting in the Donbass and in the Kharkiv region. Nevertheless, it is also visible that Ukraine is moving towards victory. This is particularly evident in the Cherson region in the south. “The Armed Forces of Ukraine are moving step by step in the area,” said Zelenskyy.
Russia had captured the southern Ukrainian region on the Black Sea immediately after the start of the war at the end of February. Separatists there who are loyal to Moscow recently announced that they want to hold a referendum on joining Russia. Ukraine wants to prevent this and wants to recapture the area with the help of heavy weapons supplied by the USA and other NATO countries.
The attacks on Odessa are another reason for giving Ukraine such weapons “necessary for our victory,” said Zelenskyy. He accused Russia of shelling the port of Odessa a day after the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain was signed in Istanbul. Russia rejects this, as Turkey announced after talks with the war party. There was no official Russian response as of Saturday evening.
On Friday, Russia pledged in the agreement that ships for export would be allowed to use a sea corridor and not fired at them. The three ports involved must therefore not be attacked. Among other things, it is about the export of millions of tons of grain. The agreement, signed through the mediation of the United Nations and Turkey, provides for exports to be monitored from a control center in Istanbul.
Zelenskyj complained that the art museum in Odessa was also damaged in the course of the attack. The rockets hit very close to historical objects. The Ukrainian military had announced that two missiles had been intercepted by air defenses, and two more hit the port. According to the information, the grain silos in the port were not hit.
The US government blamed Russia for the shelling of the port city of Odessa. Just one day after the agreement to export Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea, Russia broke its commitments, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday (local time). “This attack raises serious doubts about the credibility of Russia’s commitment to yesterday’s agreement.”
Blinken said the shelling was undermining the work of the United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine to get essential food products to world markets. Russia bears responsibility for worsening the global food crisis. Moscow has approved the grain export agreement and now has the duty to fully implement it.
In Kyiv, Zelenskyi met with a US Congressional delegation, which Ambassador Bridget Brink said said they reiterated their support for Ukraine. The US representatives also visited the Kiev suburbs of Irpin and Bucha, where Russian occupiers were accused of the most serious war crimes and the killing of many civilians. “Ukrainians have inspired the world with their brave opposition to Putin’s illegitimate war,” said US Democrat Adam Smith, a member of the House of Representatives in Washington. Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine at the end of February.
According to Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar, more than 50,000 women serve in the Ukrainian army, and more than 5,000 of them are currently at the front. According to the Ukrinform news agency, the politician said this at an international summit of first ladies and gentlemen in Kyiv on Saturday. Of the 50,000 women in the Ukrainian military, a total of 38,000 served as soldiers, with the remainder doing civilian work.