At least 21 people were killed in nighttime attacks by strategic bombers on buildings in the Odessa region of southern Ukraine, Kiev said on Friday, a new act of Russian “terror”, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to the Ukrainian command of the southern front, it was the Tupolev Tu-22, aircraft dating back to the Cold War and designed to carry nuclear warheads, that launched Kh-22 missiles from the Black Sea at civilian buildings. Odessa.
“The enemy hit the village of Serguiyvka in Belgorod Dnistrovsky district with three missiles. A large building was destroyed, as well as a tourist complex,” regional governor Maksym Marchenko told Telegram.
“Twenty-one people have died, including a 12-year-old boy. Thirty-eight are in hospital, including five children. Two children are in serious condition,” he said.
“There wasn’t the slightest military target” there, he said.
“A Russian Terror”
“I insist: this is deliberate Russian terror and not a few mistakes or an accidental missile strike,” denounced President Volodymyr Zelensky in the evening.
“I urge our partners to provide Ukraine with missile defense systems as soon as possible. Help us save lives,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba wrote on Twitter, calling Russia a “terrorist state.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked about the matter, assured that Russian forces “are not operating on civilian targets” in Ukraine.
“The Russian side, which is again talking about collateral damage, is inhumane and cynical,” commented German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit. “It shows us once again in a cruel way that the Russian aggressor deliberately accepts the death of civilians,” he added.
The Kh-22 missiles that were used Friday in the Odessa region according to the Ukrainian military are Soviet cruise missiles dating back to the Cold War, designed to attack an aircraft carrier battle group.
According to the Ukrainian army, missiles of the same type hit a shopping mall in the middle of the day on Monday in Kremenchuk, in central Ukraine, 200 km from the front, killing at least 19 people according to the latest reports.
Also on Friday, the governor of the Mykolaiv region, Vitaliy Kim, reported the firing of 12 missiles by Russian forces against this area of southern Ukraine. He didn’t give a report.
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These new deadly attacks came a day after the closing in Madrid of a NATO summit during which its members, led by the United States, assured Ukraine of their unwavering support towards Russia and announced new military assistance.
The Pentagon on Friday listed a new contribution of $820 million, including missiles, projectiles and sophisticated NASAMS air defense equipment, that will help combat Russian aviation, including drones as well as cruise missiles.
Norway, in turn, announced aid of 10 billion kroner (about one billion euros).
But it was also on Thursday that the Ukrainians inflicted contempt on Russian forces in the Black Sea, forcing them under their artillery fire to abandon Serpent Island, a rocky Ukrainian islet southwest of Odessa and opposite the mouth of the Danube.
The coastal town of Sergiivka hit by the Russians on Friday, about 80 km southwest of Odessa, is located on the part of the Ukrainian coast closest to this island essential for controlling maritime traffic, in particular for exporting the millions of tonnes of cereals that remain trapped in Ukrainian silos.
Last episode of this grain war: Ukraine asked Turkey to intercept a Russian freighter 140 meters long from the port of Berdiansk, in the occupied zone, which it suspects is carrying thousands of tons of grain stolen by the Russians.
As if to illustrate this point, the Ukrainian army claimed, with video support at night, that the Russian army had bombed Serpents Island on two occasions around 18:00 with phosphorus bombs, although it had secured a withdrawal on Thursday as “signal of goodwill” and not expelled by Ukrainian attacks.
On the other hand, Volodymyr Zelensky admitted that the situation remains “extremely difficult” in Lyssytchansk, a city in the industrial Donbass basin, in the east, where most of the fighting is concentrated.
“(Russian) forces have arrived at the gates of Lysychansk. The Ukrainian army is suffering heavy losses,” the Russian Defense Ministry wrote in a statement on Friday.
The Russians “are trying to encircle our army from the south and west” near this city, confirmed Serguiï Gaïdaï, governor of the Lugansk region.
“Day and night”
“Bombs day and night,” testified in Siversk, about twenty kilometers from Lyssytchank, a woman who declined to be identified, at the foot of her building.
Lyssychansk is the last major city not yet in Russian hands in the Lugansk region, one of the two Donbass provinces that Moscow intends to fully control.
In the Kharkiv region (northeast), Governor Oleg Sinegoubov reported on Friday four dead and three wounded in the last 24 hours.
In Kherson, in the south, Ukrainian helicopters hit “a concentration of enemy troops and military equipment” near Bilozerka, the Ukrainian army said the same day, reporting “35 dead” among Russian soldiers and destroyed enemy armor.
On the diplomatic front, European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, addressing the Ukrainian parliament by video on Friday, urged it to accelerate its anti-corruption reforms as part of its accepted candidacy in the EU. member states of the Union.
She also welcomed the passage of a law aimed at combating “the excessive influence of oligarchs on the economy” and called for the adoption of a “law on the media, which brings Ukrainian legislation into line with European Union standards”.
“Now we are together” and it is “a great honor and a great responsibility,” President Zelensky told parliament, noting that “Ukraine is struggling to choose its values, to be in the European family.”
Finally, Kyiv won a symbolic battle over Russia on Friday, with UNESCO acknowledging that the Russian invasion was putting the Ukrainian culture of borsch, a beetroot and beef soup prepared on both sides of the border, at risk.
The United Nations cultural body has placed Ukrainian borsch on its list of Intangible World Heritage in Danger.
“The existence of this soup itself is certainly not endangered in itself, but it is the human and living heritage associated with borsch that is in immediate danger” because of the war, according to UNESCO.
Moscow denounced a culinary illustration of “Kiev nationalism”.