Russia struck a civilian ship sailing under the Liberian flag during an airstrike on one of the ports in southern Ukraine’s Odesa region, killing the pilot. This was reported on the Telegram platform on Wednesday evening by the Southern Operational Command of the Ukrainian Army, which also published images of the damaged ship. Three Filipino crew members of the vessel and one port worker were injured, the military added.
According to Ukrainian forces, the Russians fired a Ch-31P missile from an aircraft in the Black Sea towards an unspecified Ukrainian port, which hit the top of the ship as it entered the port. The army did not provide more details. Similar statements by individual parties to the conflict are usually not immediately independently verified. The Russian military has not yet commented.
Russia has been attacking Ukraine’s ports and grain export infrastructure since mid-July, when it pulled out of the so-called Black Sea Grain Agreements. Despite the fighting, Ukraine, which was resisting Russian military aggression, was able to export agricultural products across the Black Sea, which are needed by many countries, especially in Africa and Asia.
After withdrawing from the conventions, Moscow also warned that it would consider ships sailing to Ukrainian ports as vessels that could carry weapons. Meanwhile, Kyiv has established its own corridor running along the coast.