War in Ukraine, Day 128 | Airstrikes near Odessa kill 21

(Sergiyivka) At least 21 people were killed in nighttime strategic bombing raids on buildings in the Odessa region of southern Ukraine, Kyiv claimed on Friday, a new Russian “act of terrorism,” according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Updated yesterday at 1:08pm.

Oleksand GIMANOV with Dmytro GORSHKOV in Kyiv
Media Agency France

According to the Ukrainian Southern Front Command, it was Tupolev Tu-22, Cold War aircraft designed to carry nuclear warheads, that dropped Kh-22 missiles from the Black Sea on civilian buildings of a small coastal town south of Odessa.

“The enemy hit the village of Sergiyivka in Belgorod Dnistrovsky district with three rockets. A large building was also destroyed, as well as a tourist complex,” regional governor Maksym Marchenko explained on Telegram.

“Twenty-one people were killed, including a 12-year-old boy. 38 are in the hospital, including five children. Two children are in serious condition,” he said.


PHOTO NINA LYASHONOK, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Firefighters at work in a building destroyed by a Russian strike.

“There wasn’t the slightest military objective,” he said.

“A Russian Terror”

“I insist: This is deliberate Russian terrorism and not a few mistakes or an accidental missile attack,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned in the evening.

“I call on our partners to equip 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, who was asked about the issue, assured that Russian forces in Ukraine “are not operating against civilian targets”.

“The Russian side, which is again talking about collateral damage, is inhuman and cynical,” commented German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit. “It shows us once again in a cruel way that the Russian aggressor deliberately risked the deaths of civilians,” he added.

The Kh-22 missiles deployed in the Odessa region on Friday are Soviet Cold War cruise missiles designed to hit a battle group of aircraft carriers, according to the Ukrainian military.

According to the Ukrainian army, these are rockets of the same type that reached a shopping center 200 km from the front in Kremenchuk in central Ukraine on Monday in the middle of the day, killing at least 19 people according to the latest reports. .

Also on Friday, the governor of the Mykolaiv region, Vitaliy Kim, reported the launching of 12 rockets by Russian forces at this area of ​​southern Ukraine. He made no report.

American anti-aircraft systems

These new deadly attacks came the day after the conclusion of a NATO summit in Madrid at which its members, led by the United States, pledged their unwavering support to Ukraine over Russia and announced new military aid.

The Pentagon on Friday listed a new $820 million contribution, including missiles, grenades and sophisticated NASAMS air defense equipment, that will help counter Russian aviation, including drones, as well as counter cruise missiles.

Norway, in turn, announced aid of 10 billion crowns (almost one billion euros).

But it was also Thursday that the Ukrainians struck down Russian forces in the Black Sea and, under artillery fire, forced them to abandon the Island of Snakes, a rocky Ukrainian island southwest of Odessa and across the river at the mouth of the Danube .

The coastal town of Serguiivka, about 80 km southwest of Odessa, which was hit by the Russians on Friday, lies on the part of Ukraine’s coast closest to this island important for controlling maritime traffic, especially for the export of millions of tons of grain that remain in Ukraine stuck silos.


PHOTO MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES VIA REUTERS

View of the island of snakes

Latest episode in this grain war: Ukraine has asked Turkey to intercept a 140-metre Russian cargo ship suspected of carrying thousands of tons of grain stolen by the Russians from the port of Berdyansk in the occupied zone.

As if to illustrate this situation, the Ukrainian army assured in the evening with video support that the Russian army twice bombed the island of snakes with phosphorus bombs around 6 p.m., although on Thursday they had promised to withdraw as a “sign of good will” and not through Ukrainian strikes expelled.

On the other hand, Volodymyr Zelenskyy admitted that the situation in Lysytchansk, a city in the eastern Donbass industrial zone where most of the fighting is concentrated, remained “extremely difficult”.

“The (Russian) forces have arrived at the gates of Lysytchansk. The Ukrainian army is suffering heavy casualties,” Russia’s 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, the governor of the Lugansk region.

” Day and night ”

“It’s bombing day and night,” testified at the foot of her building in Siversk, about twenty kilometers from Lyssytchank, a woman who declined to be named.

Lysychansk is the last major city not yet in Russian hands in the Luhansk region, one of the two Donbass provinces that Moscow wants to fully control.

In the Kharkiv region (northeast), Governor Oleg Sinegoubov reported four dead and three injured in the past 24 hours on Friday.

In Kherson to the south, Ukrainian helicopters struck “a concentration of enemy troops and military equipment” near Bilozerka, the Ukrainian army said on the same day, reporting “35 dead” among Russian soldiers and destroying enemy armor.


PHOTO REUTERS

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was applauded during her speech to the Ukrainian Parliament.

On the diplomatic front, European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen video called on Friday for Ukraine’s parliament to speed up its anti-corruption reforms as part of its accepted EU candidacy approved last week by leaders of the 27 member states was adopted States of the Union.

She also welcomed the adoption of a law to combat “the excessive influence of oligarchs on the economy” and called for the adoption of a “media law that will bring Ukrainian legislation into line with European Union standards.”

“Now we are together” and it is “a great honor and a great responsibility,” President Zelenskyi told parliament, stressing that “Ukraine is struggling to choose its values, to be in the European family.”

Finally, on Friday, Kyiv won a symbolic battle over Russia, with UNESCO acknowledging that the Russian invasion endangered Ukraine’s culture of borscht, a beetroot and meat soup prepared on both sides of the border.

The United Nations cultural body has placed Ukrainian borscht on its list of intangible world heritage at risk.

“The very existence of this soup is certainly not endangered, but the human and living heritage associated with borscht is in imminent danger because of the war,” UNESCO said.

Moscow denounced a culinary illustration of “Kiev nationalism”.

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