At least one person has been killed after a Russian missile struck a Cyprus-owned ship entering the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa, Ukrainian officials say.
According to the southern defense forces, the KMAX RULER vessel was struck by an anti-radar missile. A 43-year-old harbor pilot died, while three Filipino crewmembers and a port worker have been injured.
According to Odesa’s Regional Prosecutor’s Office, which is investigating, the attack was launched at 16:45 local time (14:45 GMT) on Wednesday. The ship was reportedly moored at the time it was struck.
Odesa ship belongs to Cyprus’ shipowner Andreas Hatzigiannis
One of the injured workers was hospitalized.
Russians have hit a commercial cargo ship with national flag of Liberia as it headed into the port of Odesa with a cruise missile.
Captain dead, 3 crew members injured. pic.twitter.com/q3mIdVd89N
— Jay in Kyiv (@JayinKyiv) November 8, 2023
Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on social media that the ship was supposed to be transporting iron ore to China.
KMAX RULER of Cyprus Sea Lines, belongs to the Cypriot shipowner Andreas Hatzigiannis, president of the Cyprus Shipowners’ Union.
Ships approaching Odesa targets of attacks by Russia
Vessels entering and leaving the port of Odesa have been at risk of Russian attack since Moscow pulled out of a deal earlier this year that allowed for the safe export of Ukrainian grain.
Ukraine has since opened a temporary corridor to allow vessels to come and go from its ports.
The Russian defence ministry said it regards all cargo ships in the Black Sea bound for Ukraine as potential military targets.
According to Kubrakov, Wednesday’s attack is the 21st targeted assault on port infrastructure since Russia withdrew from the deal in July.
At least eight people were wounded and a historic museum was damaged on Sunday during Russian airstrikes on Odesa, Ukrainian officials said.
Greece has historic links to Odesa
The Filiki Eteria Museum in Odessa is a beacon of Hellenism, housed as it is in the very place where the Greek War of Independence was conceived and planned.
The former Kresnij Pereulok Street home of Greek businessman and national benefactor Grigorios Maraslis (1831-1907), the mayor of Odessa between 1878 and 1895, was where the secret society — much like the Sons of Liberty in the American colonies– hatched the plans that would come to fruition in the Revolution.
It was in this home that the founders of Filiki Eteria (Φιλική Εταιρία), or the Society of Friends —Emmanuil Xanthos, Athanasios Tsakalov and Nikolaos Skoufas — vowed to revolt against the Ottomans who had ruled Greece for almost 400 years.
Greece is also linked to Odessa via the Opera House, which had been built when the city’s mayor was Maraslis.
In a visit to Odessa in 2022, the then Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias vowed to coordinate efforts to make the historic centre of Odessa a cultural monument protected by UNESCO, a World Heritage monument, creating in this way a cultural shield that will protect this historic centre from the repercussions of the war.
“A centre that is linked to Greece, chiefly because this is where the Greek Revolution began,” Dendias said.