Updates on the latest strikes in Ukraine
A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:
Authorities in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv say water service has been restored a day after Russia launched another barrage of missiles across the country. More than 80% of residents in the capital temporarily had no running water after yesterday's attacks.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Ukraine says it shot down most of these missiles, but enough got through to cause damage. That is one of the developments in the war. Another is on the shores of the Black Sea. Twelve ships safely departed Ukrainian ports yesterday. They carried hundreds of thousands of tons of grain even though Russia has pulled out of a U.N.-backed agreement for safe passage.
MARTÍNEZ: NPR correspondent Franco Ordoñez is in Odesa, where several of the ships departed. Franco, what can you tell us about these latest attacks?
FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Yeah, A, the Ukrainian military says Russia launched more than 50 cruise missiles across the country, but 45 were knocked down. But those that got through caused a lot of damage. You mentioned some of the water issues in Kyiv. The mayor, Vitali Klitschko, also said some 350,000 apartments lost power because of the attack. And the Ukrainians say the Russians are not going after military targets, but civilian infrastructure, heat and water. All this as the winner is obviously drawing closer. Russia's President Vladimir Putin says the attacks are at least in part in response to the alleged drone strike on Russia's Black Sea fleet off the Crimean Peninsula. And he added, quote, "it wasn't all we could have done."
MARTÍNEZ: Wait. So tell us more about that because Putin also suspended Russia's participation in the grain deal in response to that attack. Some of the ships did get out yesterday, as we mentioned.
ORDOÑEZ: Right. Twelve ships were - left Ukrainian ports yesterday, four from here in Odesa. They were carrying 350,000 tons of grain on their way to Istanbul for inspections before traveling further to Africa and Asia and Europe. There are more being loaded. But there are concerns about what will happen to them and their cargo. There was a huge international outcry from Western leaders, calling out Russia's decision and charging them with contributing to rising food prices and global hunger.
You know, the White House says Moscow is weaponizing food. President Biden called the actions purely outrageous. I will note, A, that Putin does seem to be leaving the door open a little bit. In a public appearance yesterday, he said, quote, "we are not saying that we are stopping our participation in this operation. We are saying that we are pausing it."
MARTÍNEZ: OK. So it appears the ships that left yesterday are safe. But, I mean, are Ukrainians worried about this ambiguity on the Russians' part?
ORDOÑEZ: Yeah. I mean, it is a risk. There is no question that people are looking at the fact that these ships got out safely as a positive thing. But what about the next ships that sail? I spoke about this with Elena Neroba. She's a Ukrainian analyst with the grain trading firm Maxigrain.
ELENA NEROBA: Everything looks OK so far. But there is a high risk that Russia can attack this vessel or attack Ukrainian port facilities.
ORDOÑEZ: So A, there is a lot of uncertainty. It's a really tense time around here. But she points out that Russians have attacked ports in the past. In fact, on Sunday, Russia hit a marine terminal at the Mykolaiv port, which is just 2 hours - about 2 hours away from Odesa.
MARTÍNEZ: That's NPR's Franco Ordoñez in Odesa, Ukraine. Franco, thanks.
ORDOÑEZ: Thanks, A. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.