How Jewel of Black Sea Resisting Russian Invasion?

People making steel barricades in Jewel of Black Sea
Credit: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

LONDON, (Parliament Politics Magazine) – There is an uncanny calm in Jewel of Black Sea, Odessa, the city of never-ending sleep and guardian of the Black Sea’s famous pearl. During the most stressful times, Odessa’s port is bracing itself for the worst: the entrance of Russian soldiers.

Fewer than a dozen individuals can be seen wandering through the city’s central streets, surrounded by barricades, and just a few places are accessible. The military, on the other hand, is seen everywhere.

Odessa – The Jewel of Black Sea, Russian Invasion?

Odessa’s tram authority yard workers are cutting and joining old steel rails to prevent Russian tanks from entering the city. Around the city’s baroque opera house, sandbags loom above soldiers in green uniforms, making the place appear like a set from a World War II movie. A trendy food market in downtown was turned into a storage facility for the army.

Russian Invasion in Odessa Through Sea

Odessa, Ukraine’s greatest port city, authorities and residents feel that a major attack is imminent given its economic significance. Russian naval ships and troops encircle Ukrainian Black Sea territorial waters. Mayor Gennady Trukhanov was inspecting a bomb shelter at an orphanage when he heard that a Russian jet fired a rocket near the town from the Mainland.

“No need to be a hero,” the mayor advised the caller, “there will be time for that later.”

I assume they’re testing our anti-aircraft systems,” Mr. Trukhanov replied after hanging up the phone. Rockets were launched “nearly soon” after the plane entered the airspace.

Objectives of the City of Odessa

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russian forces are ready to invade Jewel of Black Sea, a “historical tragedy.”

Russian soldiers may aim to isolate Odessa from the rest of Ukraine. If they advance from the land, they control in the Mykolaiv region, where shelling has been more violent in recent days.

Ukrainian military soldier
Credit: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

When confronted with these options, many Odessa residents have elected to leave the city and relocate to one of the nearby nations, such as Romania or Moldova, while others have chosen to remain.

They include Olga, an older woman of around 65 years. The woman grins and responds, “Where am I going to be in France?” She continues, “Odessa is my home, and no one can take me away from it.”

Russia Troops Closing in on Ukraine

As part of its first offensive, Russia focused its armed troops mainly on the northern Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which is Ukraine’s second-largest city. An organized and, in many respects, more effective campaign is being launched in Ukraine’s south, along the Black Sea and Sea of Azov coastlines, where Russia is attempting to gain complete control of a tiny but strategically vital body of water known as the Sea of Azov.

According to the latest information available on Wednesday, Russian troops conquered the strategically important city of Kherson. Located at the mouth of the Dnieper River, it is the country’s first major city to fall under Russian hands. Meanwhile, the fate of Mariupol, a port city on the Sea of Azov, a body of water shared by Russia and Ukraine, hangs in the balance. Since Russian naval troops got assembled in what seemed to be an attempt to launch an amphibious assault.

In an interview on Wednesday, Igor Kolykhaev, the city’s mayor, said the devastation in Kherson had been especially severe: volunteers had been despatched to collect dead, many of which were unidentified due to tank and artillery fire, and bury them in mass graves.

According to Mr. Kolykhaev, “they’ve completely taken over the city.” He also said that he had spoken with the Russian commander, who stated that he wanted to establish a military government.

According to Ukrainian sources, Russian forces have already crossed the border into Mykolaiv, approximately 45 miles to the north of Kherson, a city with over 300,000 people. Kherson is located just over 120 miles from Odessa.

Odessa – The Real Jewel for Russia

The actual prize for Russia would be conquering would be Odessa, Ukraine. Founded in the late 1700s, it was a key Soviet commercial port during the Cold War. The Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized in 2014, is not as militarily essential as New Russia. This includes an area along the Black Sea centered on Odessa, which Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has talked longingly about.

Along with the eastern districts of Donetsk and Luhansk, Odessa was the scene of a separatist movement in 2014. This movement aspired to establish an independent state. A series of street confrontations between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian groups. Attempts to set fire to a trade union headquarters in Odessa’s suburbs got foiled. Over forty pro-Russian demonstrators got killed. 

It was clear that Odessa was on the mind of Russian President Vladimir Putin even before the assaults on Ukraine began.

According to him, “the perpetrators of this heinous crime have not been brought to justice.” Even though they haven’t been reported missing, “we know who they are by name.” 

Mayor Trukhanov, citing Ukrainian military estimates, said Russia aimed to surround Odessa. They aim to shut off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea, which is the critical connection to the world economy. 

By surrounding Odessa, “cargo shipments would stop, the economy will stop, and growth will stop,” he said.  “But we’re not talking about it much since the focus is survival,” he said.

Ever since Russia invaded Jewel of Black Sea, the city has experienced a profound and frightening shift. The city’s cobblestone streets and beaches filled with people having fun after an exceptionally warm few days. Crowds came to the newly refurbished opera theatre, adorned with polished marble and 25 pounds of gold leaf, to watch Madama Butterfly.

Around the opera house are sandbags, barbed wire, and troops brandishing automatic guns. In an attempt to effectively seal off the whole historic district.


Even though Odessa is yet to be bombarded as heavily as Kyiv and Kharkiv, it has still seen several periodic rocket assaults.

However, there’s a chance the clash will happen anyway. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenksy, replaced the Odessa region’s civilian governor with a military colonel to emphasize the danger. The Ukrainian navy has accused Russian troops of using civilian boats as a shield to enter the Black Sea.

This has agitated Odessa citizens. Even if some choose to stay in Odessa, they get scared and would flee if Russia invaded.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.