Ukraine Says Russian Strikes Kill 19 Near Odesa

SERHIIVKA, Ukraine—Russia rained missiles near Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa on Friday, hitting an apartment building and a resort that killed at least 19 people, Ukrainian officials said.

One section of a nine-storey apartment block was completely destroyed by a missile that struck at 1:00 a.m. The walls and windows of a neighboring, 14-storey apartment block had also been damaged by the blast wave. Residents were helping rescue workers comb the rubble.

Ukrainian officials said at least 16 people had been killed at the apartment block in the village of Serhiivka, and another three, including one child, in strikes that hit nearby holiday resorts.

The Kremlin denied targeting civilians: “I would like to remind you of the president’s words that the Russian Armed Forces do not work with civilian targets,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Zelenskyy and lawmakers in parliament stood for a minute of silence for those killed in the attacks near Odesa. Reuters could not independently confirm details of the attacks.

Russia has focused its main ground campaign on the east, where it demands Kyiv cede full control of two provinces to pro-Russian separatist proxies.

Moscow has been on the verge of capturing one of those provinces, Luhansk, since taking the city of Sievierodonetsk last week after some of the heaviest fighting of the war. Ukraine’s last bastion in Luhansk is the city of Lysychansk across the Siverskyi Donets river, which is close to being encircled under relentless Russian artillery assault.

The Russians were shelling Lysychansk from different directions and approaching from several sides, regional Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Ukrainian television.

“The superiority in fire power of the occupiers is still very much in evidence,” Zelenskyy said. “They have simply brought in all their reserves to hit us.”

The United States announced a further $800 million in weapons and military aid.

By Iryna Nazarchuk