In the early hours of July 19, Russian forces fired on Odesa with seven Kalibr-type cruise missiles launched from the Black Sea Region. Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense forces shot one down. The remaining six hit a village, the Operational Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported.
Russian shelling was also confirmed by the head of the Odesa military administration.
“Odesa. Missile attack. The terrorist country ‘as usual’ fights against the civilian population. The rescue operation continues. Details later. Take care of yourself and your family!” the official wrote.
The shelling destroyed three private houses and linked structures. Several private estates, cars, schools and cultural centers were also damaged.
Rescuers quickly extinguished the fire covering an area of 300 square meters. In total, 95 employees of the State Emergency Service and 16 pieces of equipment were involved in the works.
On July 18, Russian invaders also fired on the neighboring Mykolaiv region, hit a car dealership and a store selling agricultural machinery.
An Institute for the Study of War specialist Natalya Bugaeva noted: “Odesa is of tremendous importance to Russia. From a military point of view, it seems that Russian forces do not have the opportunity to ‘take’ Odesa right now, but there will be missile strikes.”
She added that a Russian offensive toward Odesa may become more likely if the invaders complete their offensive in the eastern Donbas territory.
“If Russians dig into the south, Odesa will become their first goal. To them, Odesa is vital not only for control over the south of Ukraine and the Black Sea but also for reaching Moldova and Transnistria,” Bugaeva said.
At the same time, the Ukrainian army’s successful recent liberation of Snake Island is strategically important. According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the island’s de-occupation is key to reducing the threat of amphibious landings on nearby regions, especially Odesa.
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