Russia-occupied coastal city rocked as Zelensky’s heroes wipe out Putin ammo depot

The explosion is believed to have destroyed Russian ammunition depots in the Ukranian port city of Skadovsk, Kherson Oblast, on the Black Sea. It came just hours after Russian missiles pounded Ukraine’s port city Mykolaiv, also on the Black Sea. It is the latest instance of Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops targeting ammunition stores to slow Russian plans.

Ukraine said it destroyed a key Russian command post in Kherson district along with a weapons arsenal, killing 12 Russian soldiers on July 10.

On July 25, Ukraine forces also used US-supplied HIMARS rocket systems to destroy 50 Russian ammunition depots since receiving the weapons in June.

In comments on national television, Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov underlined the growing impact that the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) are having as Ukraine tries to repel Russia’s invasion.

“This cuts their (Russian) logistical chains and takes away their ability to conduct active fighting and cover our armed forces with heavy shelling,” Reznikov said.

Reznikov said Ukrainian artillery crews had conducted “precise” strikes on several bridges. He gave no details but was apparently referring to three river crossings in Russian-occupied Kherson region which local occupation authorities say were attacked by HIMARS over the past week.

Reznikov also said Ukraine had received three Gepard anti-aircraft armoured fighting vehicles, the first of 15 expected, and that Kyiv was expecting to take delivery of several dozen Leopard tanks.

On Sunday, President Vladimir Putin signed a new naval doctrine casting the United States as Russia’s main rival and setting global maritime ambitions in the Black Sea and Arctic.

Putin did not mention the conflict in Ukraine during a speech marking Russia’s Navy Day, but said the navy would receive hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles in coming months.

The missiles can travel at nine times the speed of sound, outrunning air defences.

Navy Day celebrations in the port of Sevastopol were disrupted when five Russian navy staff members were injured by an explosion after a suspected drone flew into the courtyard of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Crimean port city’s governor, Mikhail Razvozhayev, told Russian media.

Olga Kovitidi, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament, told Russia’s RIA news agency that the attack was “undoubtedly carried out not from outside, but from the territory of Sevastopol”.

“Urgent search operations are being conducted in the city to track down the organisers of this terrorist act,” Kovitidi was quoted as saying.

Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said more than 12 missile strikes on Sunday, probably the most powerful on the city in five months of war, hit homes and schools, with two people confirmed killed and three wounded. Missile strikes continued into Sunday evening.

Ukrainian grain tycoon Oleksiy Vadatursky, founder and owner of agriculture company Nibulon, and his wife were killed in their home, Mykolaiv Governor Vitaliy Kim said on Telegram.

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Headquartered in Mykolaiv, a strategically important city that borders the mostly Russian-occupied Kherson region, Nibulon specialises in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, and has its own fleet and shipyard.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described Vadatursky’s death as “a great loss for all of Ukraine”.

Mr Zelensky added that the businessman – one of Ukraine’s richest with Forbes estimating his 2021 net worth at $430 million – had been building a modern grain market with a network of transhipment terminals and elevators.

“It is these people, these companies, precisely the south of Ukraine, which has guaranteed the world’s food security,” President Zelensky said in his nightly address.

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“This was always so. And it will be so once again.”

Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, setting off a conflict that has killed thousands, uprooted millions and deeply strained relations between Russia and the West.

The biggest conflict in Europe since World War Two has also stoked an energy and food crisis that is shaking the global economy. Both Ukraine and Russia are major suppliers of grain.

Mr Zelensky said Ukraine may harvest only half its usual amount this year due to disruption to farming.

But an agreement signed under the stewardship of the United Nations and Turkey on July 22 provides for safe passage for ships carrying grain out of three southern Ukrainian ports.

The ship may leave Ukraine’s ports on Monday, a spokesperson for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said.