Chinese consulate hit in Russian airstrike

 July 21, 2023

A Chinese consulate was damaged in Russia's bombardment of the Ukrainian port city of Odesa on Wednesday.

The Chinese government gave a low-key response to the incident, which damaged the building but otherwise left no human casualties.

"The consulate staff had long left the premises and no one was hurt. 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," China's foreign ministry said.

China consulate hit

The governor of Odesa region, Oleh Kiper, said the targeting of civilian buildings, including China's consulate, shows that Russia is picking targets indiscriminately.

Two people were killed and 20 wounded in a third night of attacks on Odesa and Mykolaiv, port cities along Ukraine's southern Black Sea coast. In addition to the human cost, Odesa is a renowned cultural capital.

Kiper shared an image of the damage to the Chinese consulate, which was limited to some broken windows.

“As a result of the Russian night attack, the building of the consulate general of the People’s Republic of China in Odesa was damaged,” Kiper said on the messaging app Telegram.

“The aggressor deliberately hits the port infrastructure — administrative and residential buildings nearby, as well as the consulate of the People’s Republic of China, were damaged. This suggests that the enemy does not pay attention to anything.”

Still friends?

It's unclear how the attack will impact Russia's generally warm relationship with China, but the damage does not appear severe: the two nations went ahead with joint military exercises in the Sea of Japan, a sign that the war in Ukraine is fueling a new Cold War.

The presence of a large nuclear plant in the Ukrainian war zone has done little to calm nerves about escalation - a risk underscored by Russia's accidental targeting of its Chinese ally.

There has also been a critical breakdown in trade diplomacy in the Black Sea, after Russia withdrew from a deal that allowed Ukraine, the "breadbasket of Europe", to safely transport grain.

Between that and the shelling of Ukraine's ports, Ukraine has accused Russia of trying to sabotage the global food supply. Russia says the siege of Odesa is in response to a Ukrainian strike on a critical bridge linking Russia and Crimea that killed a Russian couple and wounded their teenaged daughter.

A fresh Ukrainian attack on Crimea killed a teenage girl and damaged four administrative buildings.

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