KYIV — Ukrainian troops struck an oil depot and an ammunition warehouse of the Russian Army in Russian-annexed Crimea, the Ukrainian military’s communications department confirmed on July 22.
The Moscow-installed governor of the region, Sergei Aksyonov, said a Ukrainian drone blew up an ammunition depot on the peninsula, prompting the evacuation of people in a 5-kilometer radius and the brief suspension of rail traffic on the Crimea Bridge, which had been struck by at least two explosions earlier this week, when two people were killed and road traffic was halted temporarily.
The Russian Health Ministry was quoted by news agencies as saying at least 12 people required medical assistance, with four taken to the hospital.
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The reports, which could not be independently confirmed, came a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on July 22 that the Crimea Bridge was a legitimate target because it was a military supply route for Russia.
Meanwhile, Russian shelling and air strikes on Ukrainian civilian areas and grain export infrastructure have killed at least seven people, including two children, and caused massive material damage over the past 24 hours, military and regional officials said on July 22.
The Russian Army launched 16 cruise missiles and more than 20 air strikes on Ukrainian positions and populated areas, the General Staff of the Armed Forces said in its daily report.
In the eastern region of Donetsk, where heavy fighting has been taking place for months, Russian shelling killed four people, including two children, a 10-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on July 22.
Kyrylenko said the two siblings died when one of the shells fired by Russian troops hit the courtyard of their house. An elderly woman was also wounded and hospitalized, Kyrylenko said.
In the northern region of Chernihiv, two elderly women were killed when a Russian missile struck their village, regional Governor Vyacheslav Chaus said.
In the village of Nyu-York, some 40 kilometers south of Bakhmut, four civilians, including a couple, were killed and one woman was wounded by Russian shelling, Kyrylenko said.
The military also said grain storage facilities in southern Ukraine were damaged and more than 70 civilian residential buildings and other infrastructure were destroyed or damaged.
In the northeastern Sumy region, one person was killed early on July 22 in the Russian shelling of Krasnopyl village, the regional military administration reported.
Separately, Ukrainian air defense said on July 22 that it had shot down five Iranian-made kamikaze drones overnight.
The previous day, missile strikes pounded Ukrainian Black Sea port installations for the fourth day in a row, setting grain storage facilities in the Odesa region on fire and destroying huge amounts of food stored for export.
“Unfortunately, a grain terminal of one of the agricultural enterprises of the Odesa region was hit. The enemy destroyed 100 tons of peas and 20 tons of barley. Two people were wounded in the explosion,” regional Governor Oleh Kiper said on Telegram.
Russia on July 21 said its navy had carried out a live-fire “exercise” in the northwest Black Sea just days after the Kremlin said cargo ships en route to Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea would be regarded as potential military targets.
The Black Sea Fleet “carried out live firing of anti-ship cruise missiles at the target ship in the combat training range in the northwestern part of the Black Sea,” the ministry said on Telegram.
Zelenskiy met on July 21 with military commanders to discuss the situation at the front and about the grain initiative.
In New York, the UN’s political affairs chief told the Security Council on July 21 that Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian Black Sea ports risk “having far-reaching impacts on global food security, in particular, in developing countries.”
Rosemary DiCarlo also said threats — made by both Russia and Ukraine — about the potential targeting of civilian vessels in Black Sea waters are unacceptable.
China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Geng Shuang, called on both Russia and Ukraine to quickly resume grain exports after Russia’s withdrawal from the deal.
Zelenskiy on July 22 spoke by phone with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg about Moscow’s decision to terminate the Black Sea grain deal and Kyiv’s relationship to NATO.
Stoltenberg tweeted after the call that “we strongly condemn Moscow’s attempt to weaponize food. Allies stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes & following NATO Summit, Ukraine is closer to NATO than ever before.”
Zelenskiy tweeted that the two discussed measures to restart transport of grain across the Black Sea and “further actions regarding the integration of Ukraine into NATO.”
On the battlefield, Russian forces are relentlessly attacking Ukrainian positions in Donetsk and another eastern region, Kharkiv.
“The enemy continues to focus its main efforts on Kupyansk [Kharkiv region], Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, and Maryinka [Donetsk region], where 40 close combat battles were fought over the past 24 hours,” the General Staff said on July 22.
Ukrainian forces are continuing their counteroffensive in the Melitopol and Berdyansk directions in the southern region of Zaporizhzhya, the military said, without providing further details.
Also on July 22, the Russian military said Rostislav Zhuravlev, a war correspondent working for state-run RIA Novosti news agency, died during shelling by Ukrainian forces in Russian-occupied Ukraine in the Zaporizhzhya region.
Russian authorities claimed cluster munitions were used in the shelling, although the situation could not be independently confirmed. Ukraine did not comment.
With reporting by AP and Reuters