HomeWorldExplosions in Ukraine's Mykolaiv after missiles killed 21 near Odessa

Explosions in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv after missiles killed 21 near Odessa

SERHIIVKA, Ukraine (Reuters) – Powerful explosions rocked the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv early on Saturday, the mayor said, a day after authorities said at least 21 people were killed when Russian missiles hit an apartment building near the port of Odessa, on the Black Sea.

Air raid sirens sounded in the Mykolaiv region, which borders the vital export port of Odessa, before the blasts.

“There are powerful explosions in the city! Stay in the shelters!” Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

It was not immediately known what caused the explosions. Reuters was unable to independently verify the report.

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The blasts ripped through part of an apartment building as residents slept on Friday, the latest in a series of what Ukraine says are Russian missile attacks targeting civilians.

In his late-night video address on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy denounced the attacks as “consciously and deliberately targeted Russian terror and not some kind of mistake or coincidental missile attack.”

Kyiv says Moscow has stepped up its long-range missile strikes, hitting civilian targets far from the front lines. Russia says it has been targeting military sites. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov cited President Vladimir Putin’s statements “that the Russian Armed Forces do not work with civilian targets.”

A Russian missile earlier this week hit a crowded shopping mall in central Ukraine, killing at least 19 people.

Thousands of civilians have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what Moscow calls a “special operation” to root out nationalists. Ukraine and its Western allies say it is an unprovoked war of aggression.

Residents of the resort town of Serhiivka helped workers remove rubble from the nine-story apartment block, a section of which had been destroyed in Friday’s early-morning strike.

The walls and windows of a neighboring 14-storey apartment block were damaged by the blast wave. Nearby vacation camps were also affected.

“We came here to the site, we assessed the situation together with the emergency workers and the locals, and together we helped those who survived. And those who sadly died. We helped take them away,” said Oleksandr Abramov, who lives nearby and hurried to get. the scene when he heard the explosion.

Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Odessa regional administration, said 21 people had been confirmed dead, including a 12-year-old boy. Among the fatalities was an employee of the Children’s Rehabilitation Center set up by Ukraine’s neighbor Moldova at the complex.

The attack on Serhiivka took place shortly after Russia withdrew its troops from Snake Island, a strategically important outcrop about 140 km (85 miles) southeast of Odessa that it seized on the first day of the war.

Ukraine’s Chief of General Staff Valeriy Zaluzhny accused Russia of not following through on his claims that it had left Snake Island as a “goodwill gesture”. On his Telegram channel, Zaluzhny said that two Russian warplanes took off from a base in Crimea and bombed targets on the island on Friday night.

He posted a video of what he said the attack was. Reuters was unable to confirm the authenticity of the video or the Russian action depicted. There was no immediate Russian comment.

Russian forces had used Snake Island to control the northwestern Black Sea and impose a blockade on Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters.

Moscow denies blame for a food crisis, which it says is caused by Western sanctions hurting its own exports.

Putin met with Indonesia’s president on Thursday and spoke by phone with India’s prime minister on Friday, promising the two major food importers that Russia will remain a major grain supplier.

Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing grain from territories Russian forces have occupied since its invasion.

The Kremlin has denied stealing grain and did not respond to requests for comment Friday.


Russia’s intensifying campaign of missile strikes against Ukrainian cities coincides with the success of its forces on the battlefield in the east, aiming to force Ukraine to cede Luhansk and Donetsk provinces.

Moscow has been on the verge of capturing Luhansk since seizing the city of Sievierodonetsk last week after some of the heaviest fighting of the war.

Ukraine’s last stronghold in Luhansk is Sievierodonetsk’s sister city of Lysychansk, across the Siverskyi Donets River, which is close to being encircled by Russian artillery shelling.

In Russian-occupied Sievierodonetsk, residents emerged from cellars to sift through the rubble of their city.

“Almost the entire infrastructure of the city is destroyed. We have been living without gas, electricity and water since May,” Sergei Oleinik, 65, told Reuters.

More weapons were needed in eastern and southern Ukraine, Zelenskiy said, as the Pentagon announced the United States would send two NASAMS surface-to-air missile systems, four additional counter-artillery radars and ammunition as part of its latest weapons package.

(Reuters Bureau Reporting; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by William Mallard)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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