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Ukraine war latest: Russia launches missile strike at Odesa during Zelensky, Greek PM visit, killing 5

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 6, 2024 8:35 PM 8 min read
Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky hold a joint briefing outside the Transfiguration Cathedral, which was destroyed by a Russian attack, in Odesa, Ukraine, on March 6, 2024. (Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Key developments on March 6:

  • Russia attacks Odesa during visit of Greek PM with Zelensky, 5 killed
  • Cameron: London ready to loan Ukraine all frozen Russian assets in UK
  • Military intelligence: Attack on Russian Sergey Kotov vessel injures at least 27
  • Kursk Oblast mining plant damaged in drone strike, Russia claims
  • Russian attack on Kharkiv Oblast kills man, injures 7, including children

Russia launched a missile at Odesa during a visit of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters on March 6.

Mitsotakis said at a joint press conference with Zelensky that he was being given a tour of the port of Odesa by the president and his staff when he heard the air raid siren.

"Shortly after, as we were getting into our cars, we heard a big explosion."

"I think this is one more reason why all European leaders should come to Ukraine," in order to "experience the war first hand," Mitsotakis said.

Greek cabinet member Stavros Papastavrou confirmed to Greek media earlier in the day that there were no injuries among the Greek delegation, but the blast occurred approximately 150 meters away, according to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

The air raid alert sounded at around 10:40 a.m. local time. Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk later confirmed that Russia had targeted Odesa's port infrastructure, killing five people.

"We saw this strike today. You see who we are dealing with, they don't care where they hit," Zelensky said.

Following the meeting between Zelensky and Mitsotakis at the port, the two leaders then visited a nine-story building that was damaged in a Russian drone attack on March 2. The attack killed 12 people, including five children.

Odesa has long been home to a Greek diaspora and Mitsotakis met representatives of this community during his visit.

"Along with Mariupol, after all, Odesa was for many centuries a vital hub of Hellenism on the shores of the Black Sea," Mitsotakis said.

"Odesa is a first priority area and where we want to focus Greek reconstruction programs," Mitsotakis said. Mitsotakis announced in August 2023 that Greece plans to help Odesa rebuild its historic city center.

Mitsotakis said he chose to visit Odesa and not Kyiv, in part due to the port city's Greek links.

"It was here that the Society of Friends was formed," Mitsotakis said, referring to a 19th-century revolutionary movement that aimed to free Greece from Ottoman occupation.

Mitsotakis also said that he wanted to "demonstrate the very great economic importance of Odesa as the main port of Ukrainian exports to Europe and to the world."

"It is extremely important to keep this shipping channel open so that Ukraine can export its products."

More than 30 million metric tonnes of agricultural products have been exported through ports in and around Odesa since August 2023, when Ukraine set up a new shipping corridor after Russia unilaterally terminated the Black Sea grain deal.

Moscow dismisses ICC arrest warrants for Russian military commanders
Lieutenant General Sergei Kobylash and Admiral Viktor Sokolov “are each allegedly responsible” for a number of war crimes, including “directing attacks at civilian objects,” the ICC said.

Cameron: London ready to loan Ukraine all frozen Russian assets in UK

U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on March 5 that London is prepared to loan Kyiv all the assets of the Russian central bank frozen in the U.K. on the basis that Moscow will be forced to pay reparations to Ukraine after the all-out war, the Guardian reported.

Western countries and other partners immobilized around $300 billion of the Russian central bank's assets at the beginning of the full-scale invasion in 2022.

Debates over the legality of channeling these funds into Ukraine's reconstruction have prevented allies from transferring the money, but ongoing delays in U.S. military aid have prompted heightened urgency.

According to Cameron, the assets will be used as a surety for the payment of the reparations. He said that there is an opportunity to use "something like a syndicated loan or a bond," knowing that Ukraine's allies will recover money once Moscow pays reparations.

"That may be a better way of doing it," the U.K. minister noted.

London wants to maximize the unity of the Group of Seven (G7) and the European Union on this issue, Cameron said, but if this attempt fails, "we will have to move ahead with allies that want to take this action."

The U.K. is estimated to have immobilized about 25 billion pounds ($32 billion) worth of Russian assets, but no official figure has been disclosed.

According to the World Bank, the estimated cost of Ukraine's post-war recovery and reconstruction has risen to $486 billion.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on March 4 that the confiscation of frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine's reconstruction is a key priority for the government in 2024 and an initiative supported by most of Ukraine's partners.

The EU agreed in February to set aside billions of euros of profits from these assets, paving the way to allow the funds to be transferred to Ukraine.

The plan most directly impacts Euroclear, a Belgium-based financial services company that holds about 191 billion euros ($205 billion) in Russian assets.

Central securities depositories (CSDs) holding more than 1 million euros ($1.07 million) in assets from the Russian central bank must separate any profits generated from the primary accounts, according to the plan.

Media: Sweden to officially become NATO member on March 11
Sweden’s flag will be raised at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on March 11 around noon, marking the official start of the country’s membership in the alliance, the Swedish TV4 channel reported on March 6.

Military intelligence: Attack on Russian Sergey Kotov vessel injures at least 27

At least 27 crew members were wounded as a result of the destruction of the Russian Sergey Kotov patrol ship near occupied Crimea, according to the most recent data from Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR) published on March 6.

A day earlier, the agency reported that seven Russian sailors were killed, six injured, and 52 crew members who were on board the ship may have been evacuated.

More than 20 crew members sustained injuries of varying severity, the agency said on Telegram on March 6, adding that information about casualties is being clarified.

The military intelligence agency confirmed on March 5 that the Project 22160 Sergey Kotov patrol ship was destroyed in the Kerch Strait after being hit by Ukrainian Magura V5 naval drones.

In a conversation allegedly intercepted by Ukraine's intelligence services, a Russian commander claimed that the Russian patrol ship had a helicopter on board. Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing unnamed sources, that a Russian Ka-29 transport and combat helicopter was destroyed along with the vessel.

Russian forces were also planning to place an anti-aircraft missile system on the Sergey Kotov patrol ship, according to HUR spokesperson Andrii Yusov.

Sergey Kotov is one of a number of Russian ships reported to have been damaged by Ukrainian forces. On Feb. 14, the Russian Ropucha-class Caesar Kunikov landing ship was sunk in the Black Sea after being attacked by Ukrainian naval drones.

Ukraine has repeatedly struck Russia's Black Sea Fleet since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, including the sinking of the Moskva flagship cruiser in April 2022 and a devastating missile attack on the fleet's headquarters in occupied Crimea that reportedly killed more than 30 officers.

WSJ: Ukrainian commandos fight Russian influence in Sudan
Small Ukrainian army teams took part in hostilities in Sudan, helping the country’s leader fend off Wagner Group-backed rebel forces, the Wall Street Journal reported on March 6, citing Ukrainian and Sudanese military officials.

Kursk Oblast mining plant damaged in drone strike, Russia claims

Russia claimed that Ukrainian drones attacked Kursk, Voronezh, and Belgorod oblasts early on March 6, allegedly causing a warehouse fire in the first of the three regions.

Bordering Ukraine, officials in these regions often report on Ukrainian cross-border attacks. Kyiv typically does not usually comment on these claims.

The fire broke out in a lubricant warehouse in Kursk Oblast's Zheleznogorsky district, said Roman Starovoyt, the regional governor. According to the Russian official, a fuel tank ignited as a result of the attack.

The Russian Telegram channel 112 claimed that a drone targeted the Mikhailovsky Mining and Processing Plant in Zheleznogorsk. Starovoyt reported later during the day that a second drone hit the plant, noting that there were no casualties.

Several Ukrainian media outlets wrote, citing their sources, that the attack on the Mikhailovsky plant was an operation of Ukrainian intelligence services.

Hungarian FM: Orban to discuss ‘achieving peace in Ukraine’ with Trump during upcoming visit
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban plans to discuss how to “achieve peace” in Ukraine during an upcoming visit with former U.S. President Donald Trump, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told the Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti on March 6.

Russian attack on Kharkiv Oblast kills man, injures 7, including children

Russian forces attacked the village of Borova in Kharkiv Oblast on March 6, killing a 70-year-old man and injuring seven people, including three children, Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on Telegram.

Borova lies around 36 kilometers from the town of Izium in Kharkiv Oblast and is located east of the Oskil River. Since Ukraine's Armed Forces liberated the village in October 2022, Russia regularly shelled it along with other settlements in the region.

As a result of the recent strike, a fire broke out on the territory of the household, destroying cars, a garage, and outbuildings, the governor reported.

The boys, aged 12 to 16, suffered injuries of minor and moderate severity, and an 18-year-old civilian sustained shrapnel wounds. A 73-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman were also injured, Syniehubov said. A 24-year-old woman was diagnosed with an acute stress reaction.

Over the past day, Russian troops attacked the village of Kurylivka in Kharkiv Oblast, killing a 58-year-old woman, according to the authorities.

Update: Death toll of Russian Feb. 7 attack on Kyiv rises to 6
The death toll of a Russian missile attack against Kyiv on Feb. 7 has risen to six as a man died in the hospital, the Suspilne news outlet reported, citing his relatives.
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1:05 PM

Russian strike hits Zaporizhzhia airport terminal.

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