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Russian missile may have targeted Zelenskiy, Greek PM, says Ukraine aide
Russian missile may have targeted Zelenskiy, Greek PM, says Ukraine aide
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Russian missile may have targeted Zelenskiy, Greek PM, says Ukraine aide
by DZRH News08 March 2024
FILE PHOTO: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visit the sea port, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine March 6, 2024. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

(Reuters) -A top Ukrainian official said he could not exclude the possibility that a Russian missile had deliberately targeted the delegations of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the visiting prime minister of Greece when they visited Odesa port.

The missile slammed into port infrastructure in the Black Sea city on Wednesday just a few hundred metres away from Zelenskiy and Greece's Kyriakos Mitsotakis as they inspected the port's grain export facilities.

Russia denied the suggestion.

"It really was less than 500 meters from us... You cannot exclude that it was directed at the delegation of my president or the delegation of the foreign guest," Ihor Zhovkva, a top diplomatic adviser, told CNN Live in an interview.

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Both Zelenskiy and Mitsotakis appeared at a press conference on Wednesday to say they had witnessed the strike. Five people were killed in the attack, the Ukrainian military said.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said Russia had not targeted the delegations and that it was obvious "to everyone" that there had been no planned strike on the motorcade.

Russia's defence ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that its troops had attacked a hangar housing Ukrainian naval drones in the port, adding that "the goal has been achieved".

Ukraine's Black Sea port infrastructure has been a constant target for Russian attacks, which have been stepped up since last July when Moscow quit a U.N.-brokered deal that allowed safe passage of Ukrainian grain and Kyiv established its own export corridor.

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Zhovkva said Wednesday's missile had been launched from Crimea, the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

"It took the missile less than three minutes to reach the target, the site of the port of Odesa," Zhovkva said.

If Ukraine had sufficient air defences, he added, "this ballistic missile could have been intercepted".

(Reporting by Yuliia DysaEditing by Bernadette Baum and Gareth Jones)

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