by Vladislav Davidzon
Tuesday, 10
May 2022
Dispatch
07:00

Martial law declared in Odessa as rockets rain down

You don't hear much about my hometown, but the attacks keep coming
by Vladislav Davidzon
People ignored warnings and gathered in churches over Easter. Credit: Getty

Odessa

There were numerous predictions about what Vladimir Putin would say in yesterday’s Victory Parade, none of which came to fruition. The usual menacing display of nuclear missiles did take place, but at least the Russian President did not threaten to strike anyone — as has become the chillingly routine rhetoric on Russian television over the past month. 

During the ceremony, Putin placed a bouquet of red carnations to honour the ‘hero cities’ of Kyiv and Odessa. This took place at almost the exact same time that Odessa — my hometown — was being paid an unannounced visit by European Council President Charles Michel. After Michel pronounced that Russia would not succeed in its attempt to “execute Ukrainian freedom,” Russian missiles began raining down on the city — as they had been for the past two weeks. The EC President was forced to take cover.

Though Odessa has not attracted the same kind of media attention as other Ukrainian cities, it has, over the last several weeks, been methodically struck by Russian missiles. I had just returned from a trip to the front lines in Donetsk and watched in disbelief as Odessans scuttled and stampeded for cover in the city centre following these strikes. We thought that we had been through the worst of it by Easter when, days earlier, eight people were killed and more than a dozen wounded in air strikes. The city authorities tried to persuade the populace to stay home and not congregate in churches the next day, but people went to church anyway. Ironically, the roof of an Orthodox church belonging to the Moscow Patriarchy would be destroyed by a missile the following week.

But in the last few days, other parts of the city, like Odessa airport — just a few blocks from my family home — have been repeatedly hit. I therefore finally convinced my aged father-in law — a feisty former sailor — that it was time to go to Europe and put him in a car to the Romanian border. He was forced to take the ‘scenic’ long route to the south of the Odessa region because the Belgorod-Dnistrovsky railway bridge over the Dniester estuary was destroyed by a Russian air strike. 

Odessa authorities continue to have problems with Russian saboteurs, infiltrators and local sympathisers, and as such, declared martial law for the duration of yesterday. Today, the only people standing on Odessa’s cobblestoned streets were men of the territorial defence units checking people’s documents. 

This is a muted city, but one that remains firmly under Ukrainian control. We hope the fighting will end soon, so that ordinary Odessans and Ukrainians can try to rebuild what has been lost.

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Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
14 days ago

Have the Russians burned people alive in buildings yet? Also known as “the traditional May BBQ” in Odessa?

Kristian Slavov
Kristian Slavov
14 days ago

I think the roots of this Conflict are much more deeper and diverse (complicated) than some (more or less laic) opinions might suppose or suggest…
In the course of about at least 80 – 180 years Russia had been engaged in numerous European ‘wars’ (for example the repression of the Hungarian revolution (1848-49); the liberation of Bulgaria, the two World wars, etc…) In most of these conflicts ‘Russia’ finally got itself deserted, (more or less) defamed, played around and so in the aftermaths – most of all – couldn’t achieve or enforce (neither peacefully nor martially) it’s main interesests…
On the other hands, the continuous-multiple conflicts and in reality unfruitful diplomatic “manouvers” around the Northern Black Sea costs (including the geopolitically key Crimean peninsula) has given the latest “motivation” for the definitive Russian occupational planning…
In conclusion, I guess that the long-term lack of true recognition (also as the half-world’s “maltreated” industrial & resource provider) and the following loss of influence, led the Russians to turn evermore increasingly to autocratic leaderships as well as to promote the”revival” of the aggressive militarism, which ignited finally to erupt this Escalation of profound geopolitical tensions…

Last edited 14 days ago by Kristian Slavov
Kristian Slavov
Kristian Slavov
14 days ago

I think the roots of this Conflict are much more deeper and diverse (complicated) than some (more or less laic) opinions might suppose or suggest…

In the course of about at least 80 – 180 years Russia had been engaged in numerous European ‘wars’ (for example the repression of the Hungarian revolution (1848-49); the liberation of Bulgaria, the two World wars, etc…) In most of these conflicts ‘Russia’ finally got itself deserted, (more or less) defamed, played around and so in the aftermaths – most of all – couldn’t achieve or enforce (neither peacefully nor martially) it’s main interests…

On the other hands, the continuous-multiple conflicts and in reality unfruitful diplomatic “manouvers” around the Northern Black Sea costs (including the geopolitically key Crimean peninsula) has given the latest “motivation” for the definitive Russian occupational planning…

In conclusion, I guess that the long-term lack of true recognition (also as the half-world’s “maltreated” industrial & resource provider) and the following loss of influence, led the Russians to turn evermore increasingly to autocratic leaderships as well as to promote the”revival” of the aggressive militarism, which ignited finally to erupt this Escalation of profound geopolitical tensions…/

M. M.
M. M.
14 days ago

About 80% of the Russian public supports the war against the Ukrainians. So, ordinary Russian people are responsible for the atrocities committed by their soldiers in Ukraine.

Though the Russians physically resemble Europeans, the Russian mentality resembles the Chinese mentality.

Get more info about this issue.

Last edited 14 days ago by Matthew M.