The Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday that Russian forces launched “retaliatory” strikes in southern Ukraine in response to the bombing of the Crimean Bridge by Ukrainian forces.
Russia said the strikes were launched against targets in Odesa and Mykolaiv, and Ukrainian authorities reported airstrikes in those cities.
“Last night, the Russian Armed Forces delivered a multiple retaliatory strike by seaborne high-precision weapons against the sites where terrorist attacks were being plotted against the Russian Federation with the use of drone boats and against the place of their production at a ship repair plant in the area of the port of Odesa,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, according to TASS.
Ukrainian officials reported damage to homes and port infrastructure in Odesa and said a major fire broke out in Mykolaiv. According to TASS, the Russian military claimed it destroyed 70,000 tons of fuel for Ukrainian military hardware. “All the targets designated for the strike were destroyed. Fires and detonation were registered at the destroyed sites,” Konashenkov said.
The Russian strikes on the port city of Odesa also came a day after Moscow suspended its participation in the grain deal that facilitated exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Russia said it could no longer guarantee the security of shipments out of Ukraine and said it would only return to the initiative when more obstacles to the export of Russian agricultural goods are lifted.
The bombing of the Crimean Bridge killed two civilians and injured a child. The bridge, which connects Crimea to the Russian mainland, is a sensitive target for Moscow. When it was first bombed in October 2022, the Russian military began large-scale missile strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure.