Odessa in Ukraine reeling from strikes, visits German minister

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s visit to Bucha came after Berlin faced criticism over arms supplies to Ukraine deemed insufficient and a refusal to give up dependence on Russian energy imports.

The port city of Odessa was rocked by Russian missile strikes on Tuesday as the top German diplomat became Berlin’s top official to visit Ukraine since the invasion of Moscow.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s surprise visit to Bucha, a town outside Kiev where Russian troops have been accused of war crimes, came amid mounting criticism of Berlin’s slow response to the conflict.

The series of rocket attacks in Odessa at night destroyed buildings, set fire to a shopping center and killed one person just hours after a visit by European Council President Charles Michel.

“This much-needed food has been stranded because of the Russian war and blockade of ports on the Black Sea, with dramatic consequences for vulnerable countries. We need a global response,” he added.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in particular, has come under fire for arms supplies to Ukraine deemed insufficient and Germany’s refusal to give up its dependence on Russian energy imports.

The German was joined by her Dutch colleague Wopke Hoekstra, who visited the ruined commuter town of Irpin, he said in a Tweet.

Russia has stepped up its fight to conquer eastern Ukraine after failing to take Kiev, sparking fierce fighting.

The shelling also continued in the easternmost strongholds of Ukraine, the twin cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. An AFP team had seen columns of Ukrainian trucks drive away from Severodonetsk on Monday.

“I feel total apathy. I am starved morally — not to mention physically,” said mason Artyom Cherukha, 41, as he collected water from a natural spring in Lysychansk.

“We’re sitting here counting the bombs,” Cherukha said.

The factory is the last bastion of the Ukrainian resistance in the city, which has been continuously devastated since the invasion of Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24.

Many civilians have been evacuated from the factory in recent days as Russia pushes for full control of Mariupol to open a land corridor from Crimea, which it seized in 2014.

The United States has already sent some $4 billion in military aid to Ukraine, but “yielding to aggression is even more expensive,” Biden said as he signed the bill, which was passed with unusually bipartisan support.

The Pentagon said Monday it has seen indications that those involved in the Russian invasion are being forcibly removed from their homelands to camps.

“But we have evidence that Ukrainians are being taken to Russia against their will,” Kirby said. He called these actions “unreasonable” and “not the behavior of a responsible power.”

Russia faces mounting international outrage and is already under severe sanctions.

The Council announced Monday that it would hold a special session at Kiev’s request to examine “the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine as a result of Russian aggression”.

The populist Orban, one of Putin’s closest friends in Europe, had blocked the bloc’s attempt to phase out Russian oil – one of the most painful measures the West has taken to date – while pointing to economic consequences in landlocked Hungary.

However, Macron suggested building a wider political bloc that could also include Britain, which left the EU in 2020.

Originally published as Ukraine’s Odessa teeters on strike, German minister visits

Leave a Comment