Ukraine-Russia: Russian missile on Odesa strikes kills eight, including three month-old baby

Chief of staff Andriy Yermark said 18 other people were wounded after the missile struck a block of flats, one of several buildings that were hit.

“Nothing is sacred,” he wrote on the messaging service, Telegram. “The evil will be punished.”

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In an earlier statement reported by Reuters, Ukraine’s air command said that two missiles struck a military facility and two residential buildings in Odessa. It added that two other missiles were destroyed by Ukrainian air defences.

Elsewhere, Russian forces attacked a steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol in an apparent bid to eliminate the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance.

An estimated 1,000 civilians are sheltering in the Azovstal plant alongside the remaining Ukrainian fighters, with the latest evacuation plans canceled due to the renewed Russian aggression.

Oleksiy Arestovich, an advisor to President Zelensky, said Russian forces had summarized air strikes on the vast seaside plant and were trying to storm it, which would represent a reversal from an order Russian President Vladimir Putin gave two days earlier.

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A man pushes his bicycle past a destroyed Russian armored personnel carrier in the village of Gostomel, close to Kyiv. Picture: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty

Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin last week that the whole of Mariupol, with the exception of Azovstal, had been “liberated” by the Russians.

At the time, Putin ordered him not to send Russian troops into the plant but instead to block off the facility, an apparent attempt to starve out the Ukrainians and force them to surrender.

Earlier on Saturday, the Azov Regiment of Ukraine’s national guard, which has members holed up in the plant, released footage of around two dozen women and children, some of whom said they had been in the mill’s underground tunnels for two months and longed to see the sun.

“We want to see peaceful skies, we want to breathe in fresh air,” one woman in the video said. “You have simply no idea what it means for us to simply eat, drink some sweetened tea. For us, it is already happiness.”

Both Ukrainian and Russian authorities have said the Azovstal plant is the last remaining defense stronghold in Mariupol, which has strategic importance to Moscow and has been under siege since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

More than 100,000 people – down from a pre-war population of about 430,000 – are believed to be trapped in Mariupol with little food, water or heat, according to Ukrainian authorities.

The footage of Azovstal showed soldiers apparently giving sweets to children who responded with fist bumps. One young girl said she and her relatives “have n’t seen neither the sky, nor the sun” since they left their home on 27 February.

Over 20,000 civilians have been killed in Mariupol during the nearly two-month siege. Satellite images released this week showed what appeared to be mass graves near the city, and local officials accused Russia of burying thousands of civilians to conceal the slaughter taking place there.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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