According to the UN, 1,842 people, including 70 children, have been killed in Ukraine as of 11 April.
Russia launched a missile strike on the Qatari-operated port of Olvia in the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv on Monday. The news was confirmed by Ukraine’s Ambassador to Qatar Andrii Kuzmenko to Doha News.
Qatar’s terminals-operating company, QTerminals, had the concession of the port in 2020 for a period of 35 years.
Mykolaiv Regional Military Administration Head, Vitalii Kim, had informed Ukraine’s national news agency, Ukrinform on the attack through Telegram.
“Yesterday we heard a blast; everyone wrote about that. I won’t hide it, these were missile strikes. Russian occupiers attacked a Qatari enterprise, which is situated in our region. Two empty hangars were damaged, and a security guard was injured with broken glass,” said Kim.
According to Kuzmenko, one person was wounded and some buildings were destroyed following the attack, the third to take place following previous ones on 2nd and 7th March.
Kuzmenko said the ambush was deliberate and there is no military activity at the port.
“The port is of purely civilian purpose, especially for grain exports. This is [a] deliberate illumination of food oriented export infrastructure, which will negatively affect world food security,” said Kuzmenko.
The Ukrainian envoy noted that in December last year, Qterminals Olvia handled more than 10,000 tonnes of grain deliveries and 265,000 tonnes of cargo in Olvia seaport.
““The Ukrainian party considers Qterminals as their reliable partner and [the port operator] still implements its obligations amongst others with regards to the salaries of locally hired people,” said Kuzmenko.
The Ukrainian ambassador added that his country seeks to continue to run the project for the mutual benefit of Doha and Kyiv after the latter declares its victory in the Russian invasion.
Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine on 24 February, carrying out attacks against civilians and destroying the country’s infrastructure.
According to the UN, 1,842 people, including 70 children, have been killed in Ukraine as of 11 April. The exact total of civilians killed is feared to be higher than the one reported.
Russian forces have been targeting cargo ships in Ukraine that belong to other countries. Last month, Russia had launched a missile strike on Bangladesh-flagged Banglar Samriddhi, a cargo ship, killing a crew member.
The ship has been stuck at Port Olvia since the beginning of the invasion after Ukraine closed its ports.
Establishing a safe maritime corridor for merchant ships has been part of discussions that the UN’s shipping agency has held in March. The corridor would help save ships and crews stuck in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.
Mykolaiv has been subjected to attacks since last month, where hospitals have been targeted by Russia. The city’s airport has also been destroyed.
Qatar’s support of Ukraine
Since the start of the invasion, Qatar has called for the need to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and resolving the situation diplomatically.
A number of phone calls took place at the time between the two countries’ leaders, Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
In March, Qatar was amongst the 141 countries who voted on a UN resolution demanding Russia’s “immediate and complete” withdrawal from Ukraine.
On Sunday, Qatar has allocated $5 million through the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) to support Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons during a virtual Donors’ Conference for Ukraine.
According to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 7.1 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine due to the ongoing war. The organisation has also registered at least 4,503,954 refugees, which have been fleeing to neighbouring European countries including Poland and Ireland.