Russia strikes civilian ship in Black Sea port of Odesa – Ukraine

An image from what Ukraine says was a Russian strike on a civilian ship
Image caption,An image from what Ukraine says was a Russian strike on a civilian ship

By Kathryn Armstrong

BBC News

At least one person has been killed after a Russian missile struck a civilian ship entering the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa, Ukrainian officials say.

According to the southern defence forces, the Liberian-flagged vessel was struck by an anti-radar missile.

A 43-year-old harbour pilot died, while three Filipino crewmembers and a port worker have been injured.

There was no immediate comment from Russia on the incident.

According to Odesa’s Regional Prosecutor’s Office, which is investigating, the attack was launched at 16:45 local time (14:45 GMT) on Wednesday. The ship was reportedly moored at the time it was struck.

One of the injured workers was hospitalised.

Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on social media that the ship was supposed to be transporting iron ore to China.

Vessels entering and leaving the port of Odesa have been at risk of Russian attack since Moscow pulled out of a deal earlier this year that allowed for the safe export of Ukrainian grain.

Ukraine has since opened a temporary corridor to allow vessels to come and go from its ports.

The Russian defence ministry said it regards all cargo ships in the Black Sea bound for Ukraine as potential military targets.

According to Mr Kubrakov, Wednesday’s attack is the 21st targeted assault on port infrastructure since Russia withdrew from the deal in July.

At least eight people were wounded and a historic museum was damaged on Sunday during Russian airstrikes on Odesa, Ukrainian officials said.

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