Vladimir Putin’s troops accidentally put Russia’s alliance with Beijing to the test after striking a part of the Chinese consulate during their latest attacks on Odesa.
Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov noted the alliance between Moscow and Beijing has suffered repeated blows over the past four months, citing several incidents raising eyebrows about the relationship.
Writing on Twitter, Reznikov said: “May 16: Russia attacked Kyiv with Kinzhal missiles while Chinese envoy Li Hui was visiting the Ukrainian capital.
“July 19: Russia destroyed 60,000 tons of Ukrainian grain, some of which was supposed to have been exported to the PRC.
“July 20: the building of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China, located in the middle of a residential area, was damaged as a result of a Russian missile and drone attack on Odesa. A brief chronicle of a friendship with no limits.”
Weeks before Putin launched his “special operation” in Ukraine in February 2022 he and President Xi announced their countries were bound by a “friendship with no limit.”
In fact, Beijing has reiterated its neutrality, urging both parties to come to the negotiating table to agree to a peace deal.
A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry confirmed a building of the Chinese consulate in Nakhimova Lane had been struck as Russia targeted the southwestern port of Odesa with a barrage of missiles on Thursday night.
The spokesperson said staff had “long left the premises and no one was hurt.”
They added in a statement: “China is closely following the developments and staying in touch with the parties concerned.
“We will take all measures necessary to keep Chinese institutions and nationals safe in Ukraine.”
The strike is believed to be retaliation for an attack earlier this week that left the pivotal Kerch bridge linking the Crimean peninsula to the Russian mainland severely damaged.
The strikes killed at least two people in Odesa. In the nearby city of Mykolaiv, which is close to the Black Sea, at least 19 people were injured, including a child, Ukrainian officials said.
The strikes on Ukraine’s grain export infrastructure have helped drive up food prices in countries facing hunger.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the end of the deal Monday would result in more human suffering, with potentially millions of people affected.
The grain deal provided guarantees that ships would not be attacked entering and leaving Ukrainian ports, while a separate agreement facilitated the movement of Russian food and fertilizer.
The Russian military on Thursday described its strikes on Odesa, a city whose downtown area is described by the United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO as possessing “outstanding universal value,” as “retaliatory.”
In January, UNESCO added Odesa’s historic center to its list of endangered World Heritage Sites, with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay saying the “legendary port that has left its mark in cinema, literature and the arts.”
Despite multiple Russian artillery attacks and airstrikes during the war that began in February 2022, Odesa had not previously been subjected to the heavy barrages that have targeted other towns and cities in Ukraine’s south and east.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that it targeted “production shops and storage sites for unmanned boats” in Odesa and the nearby city of Chornomorsk.
In the Mykolaiv area, the Russian military claimed to have destroyed Ukrainian fuel infrastructure facilities and ammunition depots.
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