After the attack, the Russian army claimed to have hit a Ukrainian warship and stockpile of anti-ship missiles, although British intelligence suggests there is “no indication that such targets were at the location the missiles hit.”
With the missile attack coming less than a day after Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement on resuming grain shipments from the port, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said it had “destroyed the very possibility” of dialogue with Russia.
The British intelligence update on Tuesday said Russia “almost certainly perceives anti-ship missiles as a key threat which is limiting the effectiveness of their Black Sea Fleet.”
“This has significantly undermined the overall invasion plan, as Russia cannot realistically attempt an amphibious assault to seize Odesa,” it continued.
Despite continuing with attacks that will undermine Ukraine’s anti-ship capability, “Russia’s targeting processes are highly likely routinely undermined by dated intelligence, poor planning, and a top-down approach to operations,” it said.
Russian forces launched four Kalibr cruise missile at Odesa on Saturday, hitting Ukraine’s largest port.
Ukraine’s southern military command said that two rockets were shot down by air defence forces, while another two hit port infrastructure facilities.
This marks the first time since the invasion began in February that Odesa’s port has been targeted, according to officials.
The attack has been met with widespread condemnation, including from the United Nations, who with Turkey brokered a deal to facilitate the shipping of millions of tonnes of grain through Black Sea routes.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres “unequivocally” condemned the missile attacks.
Meanwhile, Turkey said it had receive assurances from Russia that it had “nothing to do” with the strike.
“The Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack, and that they were examining the issue very closely and in detail,” Turkish defence minister Hulusai Akar said.
“The fact that an incident like this happened after the agreement we made yesterday... really makes us concerned,” he added.
In response to the attack, foreign secretary Liz Truss said it was “completely unwarranted”, adding it showed Vladimir Putin could not be trusted.
“We need to urgently work with our international partners to find a better way of getting the grain out of Ukraine that doesn’t involve Russia and their broken promises,” she said.