At least 17 people have been killed after two Russian missiles struck a multi-storey apartment building and a recreation centre in the southern port city of Odesa in the early hours of Friday, Ukrainian officials have said.
Ukraine’s armed forces issued an alert urging residents to seek shelter after three explosions and air raid alarms were heard just before 1am local time.
Odesa’s military spokesman, Sergei Bratchuk, added that an “enemy missile” had struck the southern port city in an update posted to his official Telegram channel just before 2am. “Unfortunately, there are casualties,” he added.
Bratchuk later said the missile attack was carried out by “strategic aircraft” from the direction of the Black Sea.
“One rocket hit a nine-storey residential building, the other – in a recreation centre in the Belgorod-Dniester region,” he said.
Ukraine’s state emergency services (SES) said that as of 6am on Friday, 14 people had been killed and 30 injured – including three children – in the attack on the apartment building.
Three people – including a child – were killed in a seperate attack on a recreation centre, with one injured, said the SES.
The Guardian could not immediately confirm details of the incident.
Earlier this week, two Russian X-22 cruise missiles hit a crowded shopping centre in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk on Monday afternoon, killing at least 18 people and injuring dozens more.
The Ukrainian defence ministry said the attack was deliberately timed to coincide with the mall’s busiest hours and cause the maximum number of casualties.
Ukraine’s president, Volodoymyr Zelenskiy, said more than 1,000 people were inside the building at the time of the strike.
The attack comes after Ukrainian forces pushed Russian forces from Snake Island, a strategic Black Sea island off the southern coast near the city of Odesa.
Russia portrayed the pullout from Snake Island as a “goodwill gesture”. Ukraine’s military said the Russians fled the island in two speedboats after a barrage of Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes.