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Ukraine: 'Massive missile attack' on Black Sea coast

July 26, 2022

Ukraine's military said Russia fired multiple missiles at targets on the Black Sea coastline near the recently struck port of Odesa. Authorities say port infrastructure was hit at Mykolaiv. DW rounds up the latest.

A firefighter works at site of a residential area damaged by a Russia missile strike in the Odesa region
The attacks in the region come just days after an agreement was reached to resume exports of grain from Ukrainian portsImage: State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Reuters

Russia has been accused of launching multiple missile strikes at targets on the Black Sea coast on Tuesday by Ukraine's military leadership.

"A massive missile attack, with the use of aircraft, was launched from the Black Sea on the south of Ukraine," the country's southern military command said in a Facebook post.

The military said that port infrastructure was targeted in the Mykolaiv region, a claim backed up by the region's governor Vitaliy Kim who posted up a video of the attack, which showed multiple explosions.

"A critical infrastructure object and a motor vehicle business were damaged," Kim said on Telegram.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video on Instagram showing heavily damaged houses and debris in the village of Zatoka, which lies west of Odesa.

"No military bases, no troops. Russian terrorists just wanted to shoot. They will be held accountable for all this," Zelenskyy said.

Ukraine had expressed hope on Monday that it could begin preparing to restart grain export operations and was hoping to dispatch the first ships this week.

Ukraine's harbor pictured in 2016
Odesa is one of Ukraine's main grain export hubsImage: ussi Nukari/Lehtikuva/dpa/picture alliance

Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on July 26-27.

Pentagon approved plan to treat wounded Ukrainian soldiers: report

The Pentagon previously approved a plan to treat wounded Ukrainian troops at a US military hospital in Germany, an anonymous source revealed on Tuesday.

The defense official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that the Pentagon signed off on the plan in late June.

Under the plan, Ukrainian soldiers are to be treated at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, which is adjacent to the Ramstein Air Base near Frankfurt. It’s the largest US military hospital outside North America.

However, the official also said that no Ukrainian troops had been treated at the American facility as of yet, and that the plan did not involve American troops going into Ukrainian territory to bring soldiers out.

It remains unclear if any Ukrainian troops have been treated in other nearby countries, such as Poland.

Ukraine's state oil and gas company faces looming default 

Naftogaz, the Ukrainian state-owned oil and gas company, said in a statement it is expecting to default on international bond payments.

It is the first government entity since the beginning of the war to fail to make payments due on international bonds before the expiry of a grace period.

Naftogaz will default over the repayment of Eurobonds, as well as interest payments due this year. The move also concerns interest payments for Eurobonds with a maturity date of 2024. 

The company said that the government rejected its requests to approve payments to creditors and avoid a hard default.

"Certain events of default have or will occur as a result of the resolution and the resulting failure to pay," it said in a statement.

Naftogaz added that it had launched a proposal last week to freeze payments on some of its bonds for two years but failed to get creditors to back it.

The Ukrainian government said it was prioritizing financing the army, pensions and other essential needs amid the war.

"The state is now consolidating all existing resources to priority needs," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on Telegram. 

German defense minister says Berlin delivered more weapons to Ukraine

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said her country has delivered Mars II multiple rocket launchers and three howitzers to Ukraine.

Germany earlier pledged to send the weapons to Kyiv. "We keep our word," Lambrecht said. 

Lambrecht's remarks came a day after the first batch of Gepard self-propelled armored anti aircraft weapons arrived from Germany to Ukraine. 

The first shipment had five Gepard tanks. Berlin had pledged 30. 

Lambrecht said that around 60,000 rounds of ammunition, mainly from the German armed forces, would also be sent to Ukraine.  

Berlin had initially been opposed to sending weapons to Ukraine. But, after pressure, the government pledged to provide arms from the German army's stock piles and the weapons industry. 

Germany has also been negotiating weapon swaps with other countries in a bid to quickly supply Ukraine with heavy weapons. 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Wednesday that talks with the Czech Republic on a tank swap to support Ukraine are nearing completion. 

Berlin had already agreed with the Czech government on the delivery of 20 T-72 tanks to Ukraine in exchange for 15 German Leopard 2 tanks, but Baerbock said negotiations on the details were still ongoing. 

IMF says Russian economy holding 'better than expected'

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Russia's economy appears to be performing better than expected, despite a wide range of sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West due to the invasion of Ukraine. 

Western sanctions have piled up on Moscow. Most recently, London sanctioned Russian ministers and members of Kremlin-linked families on Tuesday. 

But as major economies, including the US and China, are slowing, "Russia's economy is estimated to have contracted during the second quarter by less than previously projected, with crude oil and non-energy exports holding up better than expected," the IMF said.
The IMF's latest World Economic Outlook upgraded Russia's GDP estimate for this year by a remarkable 2.5 percentage points. Still, Russia's economy is expected to contract by 6%.

The international financial institution also cut global growth forecasts and warned the world could be "teetering on the edge of [a] global recession." 

The IMF attributed the worsening global economy to high inflation and the risks posed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Kremlin says former German Chancellor Schröder is in Moscow

The Kremlin said that it believes former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is in Moscow and has not ruled out the possibility of meeting with him.

"As far as we know, he is in Moscow," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said upon being questioned by the media over whether the Kremlin was aware of reports that Schröder had traveled to Moscow.

"There is no meeting as such, but we do not rule out possible contact," Peskov said.

German broadcaster RTL reported on Monday that the former chancellor was in Moscow and quoted Schröder as saying: "I'm on holiday here for a few days. Moscow is a beautiful city," after being asked whether he would meet with President Vladimir Putin.

Earlier this month Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD), which leads the country's coalition government, began formally debating the possible expulsion of former chancellor Gerhard Schröder from the party.

Schröder's close ties with Putin and Russian energy companies have been brought into question in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The German parliament voted to cut back Schröder's special rights and privileges as a former chancellor, stripping him of his taxpayer-funded office and staff.

The European Parliament also passed a resolution urging sanctions on Schröder and other EU political figures with financial ties to Russia.

In May, Schröder finally announced that he would leave the supervisory board of Rosneft.

He also turned down a nomination for a supervisory board position at Gazprom.

Russia 'cannot realistically attempt' amphibious assault on Odesa — UK intelligence

While Russia has claimed to have hit a Ukrainian warship and a stockpile of anti-ship missiles in its strike on Ukraine's Odesa port, a British intelligence report has contradicted these claims.

In its latest briefing, the British Ministry of Defense said, "There is no indication that such targets were at the location the missiles hit."

The British update went on to say that Russia saw anti-ship missiles as a "key threat which is limiting the effectiveness of their Black Sea Fleet." The MOD said "This has significantly undermined the overall invasion plan, as Russia cannot realistically attempt an amphibious assault to seize Odesa."

The MOD also said that Russia would "continue to prioritize efforts to degrade and destroy Ukraine's anti-ship capability," but said that its targeting processes were being "routinely undermined by dated intelligence, poor planning, and a top-down approach to operations."

Ukraine tries to restart grain exports

HIMARS missile systems effective but 'no silver bullets in warfare'  — military expert

Ukraine's defense chiefs have said they believe HIMARS Precision-guided missile systems from the US could be gamechangers if Ukraine's military had considerably more of them.

DW spoke with Justin Crump, a military expert and CEO of risk analysis firm Sibylline in the UK, about the weapons systems and the difficulties in increasing deliveries.

"There are no silver bullets in warfare, but this has come closer to being a game changer than most of the things we've seen in the conflict. And so, of course, there's a natural appetite to have a lot more," Crump said.

Crump pointed out the requirements that came with having advanced weapons systems like the HIMARS on the battlefield.

"The reality with any piece of equipment is that you need to not only have the equipment, but you need to train people on it. You need to have the spares for it to keep it in operation. You need to have the ammunition supply sustained. You need to develop the tactics to use it effectively. And that's the reason that Ukraine is being trickled about four at a time by the US." 

Crump said it would take time to get more HIMARS in action.

"You look at what sort of eight in action and maybe another eight en route to the country have achieved so far. And you can see exactly why Ukraine would like a lot more immediately if they could, but bringing those into action is a bit more challenging. So it's going to be a slow and steady build up of these weapon systems."

Concerns about Ukraine having the ability to strike targets inside Russia also needs  to be taken into account, Crump said.

"I think there seems to be a degree of agreement with the US that these systems won't be used to fire into Russian territory. Now, how long that will hold, we'll see. But that's certainly an area where people are worried about escalation between Russia and Western powers that is still quite sensitive."

More on the war against Ukraine

Officials said Ukrainian grain shipments were set for export within days under a UN-backed deal, after a Russian strike on the port of Odesa cast doubt over Moscow's commitment. Wheat prices have risen sharply since the attack.

DW covered the events in the daily digest.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that an agreement on grain exports doesn't mean that Russia will stop attacking Ukraine.

Click here for more on Lavrov's comments.

kb/rs (AP,dpa,AFP, Reuters)