Three killed, Chinese consulate damaged in Russian attack on Ukraine’s port cities

By Viktoria Lakezina

MYKOLAIV, Ukraine (Reuters) -At least three people were killed and a Chinese consular building was damaged on Thursday in a third successive night of air strikes on southern Ukrainian port cities, Ukrainian officials said.

Regional governor Oleh Kiper posted a photograph showing at least one broken window at the Chinese consulate in the Black Sea city of Odesa, but there was no sign of any other damage.

Beijing, a Russian ally, did not immediately comment on the incident, one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said 60,000 tons of agricultural products destined for China had been destroyed in an attack on another Ukrainian port city.

Moscow said it had carried out “retaliatory strikes”, days after it quit a deal allowing Ukrainian Black Sea grain shipments and accused Ukraine of being behind blasts on a bridge used to transport Russian military supplies.

Ukraine’s military said Russian forces launched 19 missiles and 19 drones overnight, and that five of the missiles and 13 of the drones were shot down.

“Russian terrorists continue their attempts to destroy the life of our country,” Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messaging app. “Together we will make it through this terrible time. And we will withstand the attacks of Russian evil.”

In Odesa, a security guard was killed and at least eight other people were hurt, including a child, Kiper said.

A married couple was killed in the city of Mykolaiv, mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said.

Regional governor Vitaliy Kim had said earlier on Thursday that 19 people were hurt in the city, and several residential buildings were damaged.

Fire fighters in Mykolaiv tackled a huge blaze that left a three-storey residential building without its top floor, and adjacent buildings were gutted by the fire.

A Russian attack on the port of Chornomorsk on Wednesday damaged grain export infrastructure as well as the agricultural products Zelenskiy said were meant for China.

Ukrainian officials see the air strikes as an attack on global food security because Kyiv is a major grain exporter. Mykhailo Podolayk, a senior adviser to Zelenskiy, urged the international community to do more in response.

“Will we see an emergency convocation of the UN Security Council to discuss global food security? The international community chooses… to stand aside,” he wrote on Twitter.

Authorities in the northeastern region of Kharkiv said separately a 61-year-old man had been killed there by Russian shelling on Thursday.

(Additional reporting by Dan Peleschuk and Olena Harmash in Kyiv, Editing by Timothy Heritage)