At least 21 people including two children have been killed and dozens more wounded in the latest Russian missile strike on a civilian building in Ukraine.
Kyiv says a AS-4 anti-ship missile – the same kind used against a shopping mall in Kremenchuk earlier this week – hit a nine-storey apartment block in Odesa overnight, all-but destroying the building.
Thirty one people were hurt in the strike, local officials said, including a pregnant woman and four infants. Video shows rescuers searching the rubble for survivors, and a distressed woman calling for help as a child cries in the background.
It is just the latest Russian airstrike to hit a civilian target in Ukraine, after the Kremenchuk shopping centre was struck on Monday – killing at least 20 – and an apartment block in Mykolaiv was hit Wednesday – killing at least eight.
Ukraine says Russia is deliberately targeting civilians as part of a ‘terror’ campaign to distract from its failing invasion, a charge Putin denies.
At least 21 civilians have been killed, including two children, and 31 wounded after a Russian anti-ship missile struck a civilian apartment building in the city of Odesa overnight
Ukraine said the missile badly damaged an apartment building and two nearby recreational buildings (one pictured)
Part of the destroyed apartment building in Odesa, in southern Ukraine, after it was hit by a Russian missile overnight
A car is partially buried under rubble against the back-drop of a destroyed apartment building in the Ukrainian city of Odesa after Russia’s latest airstrike on civilians
A tractor fitted with heavy-lifting equipment takes part in rescue work after a Russia missile hit an apartment block in Odesa
A pregnant woman and four children are among those wounded after Russia hit an apartment block in Odesa, just the latest in a series of strikes against civilian targets in Ukraine
A destroyed building is seen after the Russian missile attack where 21 people died in Odesa, southern Ukraine
Ukraine accuses Russia of deliberately targeting civilians (apartment block in Odesa, pictured) as part of a campaign of ‘terror’ to distract from its military failings
A destroyed car is seen after the Russian missile attack where 21 people died in Odesa, southern Ukraine
Firefighters work to extinguish a blaze inside an Odesa apartment block that was struck by a Russian missile overnight, leaving more than a dozen people dead
Firefighters search through the rubble of an Odesa apartment block, looking for victims and survivors of Russia’s latest airstrike on a civilian target
Ukrainian firefighters search the rubble of a civilian apartment block after it was blown up by a Russian missile, just the latest in a series of strikes against the innocent
Russia’s strike on civilians in Ukraine
Ukraine accuses Russia of deliberately targeting civilians in a campaign of ‘terror’ to distract from its military failings. Here are the latest strikes…
Jun 27: Kremenchuk mall hit by anti-ship missile, leaving at least 20 dead and 21 missing, presumed dead
Jun 28: Mykolaiv apartment block hit, leaving at least eight civilians dead
Jul 1: Odesa apartment block hit, leaving at least 21 including two children dead
The Odesa attack – thought to have been carried out by a Russian Tu-22 bomber – came just hours after Putin’s forces withdrew from Snake Island, around 90 miles out to sea from the key port city.
Russian forces were forced to withdraw from the 100-acre spit of land after sustaining heavy fire from Ukrainian artillery and anti-ship missile batteries.
Moscow attempted to play off the withdrawal as a ‘goodwill gesture’, the same phrasing it used when forced to retreat from Kyiv and Chernihiv earlier in the war.
Snake Island has little practical value but is of strategic importance, helping the occupier control waters off Odesa – which remains a key target of Russia’s invasion.
Russia had repeatedly tried to position anti-aircraft and anti-missile batteries on the island, but saw them repeatedly destroyed.
Ukraine had also successfully targeted helicopters and boats trying to reinforce and resupply units stationed on the island.
Losing the territory makes the possibility of an amphibious assault on Odesa – feared since the early days of the war – increasingly remote.
It is also hugely embarrassing for Putin’s already-shamed Black Sea fleet which has seen a number of its ships – including the flagship Moskva – sunk by a country which has no functioning navy.
The decision to abandon Snake Island ‘changes the situation in the Black Sea considerably,’ Zelensky said in his daily address Thursday.
‘It does not yet guarantee security. It does not yet guarantee that the enemy will not return. But it already considerably limits the actions of the occupiers.’
On Wednesday, another Russian missile hit a five-storey apartment block in the city of Mykolaiv, which is located around 70 miles down the coast from Odesa.
On Friday, Ukraine announced that the death toll from that attack had risen to eight after the body of a man was found in a collapsed stairwell.
And earlier in the week, a Russian missile hit the Amstor shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk – central Ukraine – killing at least 20.
Another 21 people are missing, presumed dead, after the missile hit around 4pm local time on Monday.
Russia claims it carried out two strikes on military targets in the city – a weapons store in a nearby factory and a train station being used to transport arms – and the dis-used mall accidentally burned down after fire spread.
But Ukraine has released a number of CCTV clips that challenge those claims, including footage which shows an anti-ship missile slamming directly into the mall.
Firefighters rescue a badly wounded man from an apartment block in Mykolaiv, after a Russian missile destroyed the upper floors in a strike on Wednesday
Rescue crews carry out the body of a civilian found dead inside a Mykolaiv apartment block after a Russian missile strike, as the death toll from the attack rose to eight
A man retrieves photos of his family from the destroyed apartment block in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, after a Russian missile strike destroyed the upper floors
The smouldering remains of a Ukrainian apartment block are seen in the city of Mykolaiv after the building was hit by Russia in what Kyiv says is a campaign of terror against civilians
The remains of a Mykolaiv apartment block are seen in a photo taken by rescue workers who are still searching the building for survivors and victims after the Wednesday strike
More video released yesterday shows people shopping and working inside the mall at the time it was struck.
And a third selection of tapes shows a second missile striking the northern end of a factory, raining debris down on civilians in a nearby park.
President Putin has denied his army are deliberately targeting civilians, which would be a war crime.
‘Our army does not attack any civilian infrastructure site. We have every capability of knowing what is situated where,’ Putin told a news conference in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat.
‘Nobody among us shoots just like that, randomly. It is normally done based on intelligence data on targets’ and with ‘high-precision weapons’.
‘I am convinced that this time, everything was done in this exact manner,’ Putin said.
The Russian autocrat was there for the VI Caspian Summit of leaders from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to discuss ‘topical issues of cooperation in the Caspian Sea’.
As many as 1,000 people were feared to have been inside when it was hit.
It comes after Russian troops hastily abandoned Snake Island yesterday in a fresh blow to Putin’s invasion just days after Ukraine’s armed forces launched a crippling rocket attack on the outpost.
Snake Island became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance in the first days of the war, when the rocky outcrop’s defenders told a Russian warship that called on them to surrender to ‘go f*ck yourself,’ an incident that spurred a defiant meme.
It was also a strategic target, sitting aside shipping lanes near Ukraine’s port of Odessa. Russia had attempted to install missile and air defence batteries while under fire from drones.
Now, however, Ukraine has begun to receive longer range missiles and military gear from its Western backers, and the Russian position on Snake Island seems to have become untenable, officials said.
The Russian defence ministry statement described the retreat as ‘a gesture of goodwill’ meant to demonstrate that Moscow will not interfere with UN efforts to organise protected grain exports from Ukraine but Kyiv claimed it as a win.
‘I thank the defenders of Odessa region who took maximum measures to liberate a strategically important part of our territory,’ Valeriy Zaluzhny, the Ukraine military’s commander-in-chief, said on Telegram.
This is the moment a Russian missile hit a shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk, Ukraine, on Monday afternoon – leaving at least 20 dead and another 21 missing, presumed dead
Ukraine says the footage shows a Russian AS-4 anti-ship missile slamming into the mall, disproving Moscow’s claims that the building was not directly targeted
Onlookers gather as the shopping centre is engulfed by flames shortly after it was struck by two Russian guided missiles on Monday, while an estimated 1,000 people were inside
Rescuers are still searching the remains of the mall for victims, and say there is little chance anyone else will be found alive