Russian Airstrikes Hit Odesa Fuel Storage Facilities – Russian airstrikes on Sunday targeted and caused heavy damage to the Ukrainian oil storage facilities at the important port city of Odesa. The important target for the Russian invasion, which rests on the Black Sea has largely been spared the airstrikes that have wreaked havoc on many of Ukraine’s cities. But the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the attack earlier on Sunday.
“This morning, high-precision sea and air-based missiles destroyed an oil refinery and three storage facilities for fuel and lubricants near the city of Odesa, from which fuel was supplied to the group of Ukrainian troops in the Mykolaiv direction,” The ministry said in a released statement on Telegram.
Odesa Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov said in a Facebook post that the Russian airstrike struck “critical infrastructure” without mentioning the oil storage facilities and that residential houses were also hit in the strike but there were no reports of any casualties.
Various media reports from the city stated that there were a series of loud explosions, that shook the windows in the downtown area. Later smoke was seen billowing from the resultant fires from the airstrike. CNN media members confirmed that the oil facility was burning.
Serhii Bratchuk, a spokesman of the Operational Staff of Odesa regional military administration said, “One of the critical infrastructure objects was hit this morning,” he said of the oil refinery and storage facilities at the site.
“Currently the situation is under control, the respective services are working on site. The details will be announced later,” Bratchuk added.
Petro Obukhov, a member of the Odesa city council, confirmed on Facebook that the oil storage facility was hit. “One of the goals was an infrastructure facility. We will not forget or forgive anything.”
Photos taken from the area showed three huge billowing smoke clouds. The Ukrainian military stated that they had shot down some of the incoming missiles with their air defense systems. But in keeping with official government policy, they refused to name the exact target of the Russian airstrike or the extent of the damage that was done.
“The Odessa region is one of the enemy’s priority targets. The enemy is pursuing the sly tactic of attacking sensitive infrastructure,” a statement from the southern regional military command said after the strike.
Odesa has been a priority target for the Russians who want to secure all of the coastlines of Ukraine along the Black Sea and the port city is an important strategic hub for trade.
More than half of Ukraine’s imports and exports move through the port city and Odesa is the last major city between Russian forces in the Kherson area to the east and the border with NATO member Romania to the west.
If the Russians were to take Odesa, it would give them control of the entire Ukrainian southern coastline, which would have a devastating effect on Ukraine’s economy. Russian-backed separatists in nearby Moldova, in the region of Transnistria have thus far not become involved in the fighting. But it is a concern of Ukrainian defense officials who feel that their involvement is just a matter of time.
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for more than 10 years and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.