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Russia-Ukraine war news: Odessa, Mykolaiv hit by strikes

A rescue operation is carried out Thursday at a residential building in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, that was heavily damaged in a Russian missile attack. (Viktoria Lakezina/Reuters)

For a third successive night, missile strikes pummeled Ukraine’s Odessa region, where the country’s Black Sea ports are located, officials said. Eight aircraft carrying long-range supersonic missiles were recorded flying in the direction of the Black Sea, while anti-ship cruise missiles were launched toward the Odessa region, Ukraine’s air force said on Telegram.

An attack on the city of Mykolaiv, in a neighboring region, left 18 wounded, including five children, the regional military administration said.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

The latest strike on Odessa caused a fire in the city center and injured two people, Oleh Kiper, the regional administrative head, said on Telegram. The wave of attacks on Odessa follows Russia’s termination of a U.N.-brokered deal that helped Ukrainian grain reach international markets and comes after Moscow vowed to retaliate against Kyiv’s strike on the Crimean Bridge on Monday. The attacks on Tuesday and Wednesday destroyed 60,000 tons of grain, Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi said in a statement.

In Mykolaiv, 18 people were wounded — including five children — following an overnight attack on the city that left a garage and a residential building on fire, Vitaliy Kim, the head of the regional military administration, said on Telegram. Nine people were hospitalized, he added. Several other regions of Ukraine, including Donetsk and Kherson, were under threat of strikes early Thursday, the air force said.

A drone attack in Russian-held Crimea killed a teenage girl, Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian head of Crimea, said in a statement on Telegram. The attack damaged four administrative buildings, he added. Russia illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

All ships headed to Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea will be considered potential carriers of military cargo starting Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. “The flag countries of ships sailing to the Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea will be considered involved in the conflict” on the side of Kyiv, the ministry said. Russia is capable of replacing Ukrainian grain in international markets, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday during a meeting with government officials.

Russian forces could be preparing to attack civilian shipping vessels in the Black Sea, the White House said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. “Our information indicates that Russia laid additional sea mines in the approaches to Ukrainian ports,” National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge said, adding that Moscow would then blame Kyiv for the attacks.

In a new video, Wagner Group head Yevgeniy Prigozhin appeared to confirm he was in Belarus. He vowed to continue operating the mercenary group, but not in Ukraine. The video, posted on Telegram and verified by The Washington Post, appears to be the first footage of him since the group’s short-lived mutiny in Russia last month. His fighters would continue working in Africa, Prigozhin said, and would train the Belarusian army.

Ireland will give an additional $5.6 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced during a state visit to Kyiv on Wednesday. “Ireland’s commitment to Ukraine means that we will support them on their pathway to E.U. membership,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin cut a deal with the Wagner Group “to save his skin,” Richard Moore, the chief of Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency, said in a rare speech in Prague, CNN reported. “He really didn’t fight back against Prigozhin,” Moore said, giving insight into assessments by Western intelligence agencies on the rebellion that rocked Moscow.

The legality of sanctions brought by Britain against the assets of Russian oligarchs is set to be tested in court on Thursday, the Guardian reported. A high court will consider the request of Eugene Shvidler, a billionaire businessman and ally of Roman Abramovich, to release his frozen assets, including two private jets.

Putin, facing war crimes arrest, will skip BRICS summit in S. Africa: South Africa announced Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the BRICS summit there in August by “mutual agreement,” report Mary Ilyushina and Robyn Dixon. The agreement puts an end to a diplomatic quandary for South Africa: It is a signatory to the International Criminal Court and would have been obliged to arrest Putin, who is facing an arrest warrant from the ICC over alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

Russia had made it clear to South Africa that arresting Putin would be considered a declaration of war, according to a statement filed in a local court by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. The situation had prompted some officials in South Africa to propose withdrawing from the ICC.

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