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12 dead in Russian strike on Odessa building

Photo: Oleksandr Gimanov Agence France-Presse Four people could still be trapped in the rubble, the local branch of Ukraine's main emergency service said on Sunday.

Susie Blann – Associated Press to kyiv

March 3, 2024

  • Europe

The death toll rose to 12 on Sunday following a Russian drone strike that destroyed a building in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa the day before when a local official said the body of a third child had been pulled from the rubble, along with that of the child's mother.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Western allies to strengthen Ukraine's air defense following the deadly attack.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said Sunday that rescuers had recovered the remains of a woman and a baby that morning.

“The mother tried to cover the eight-month-old child with her own [body]. She tried to save them. They were found in a firm embrace,” reads a message posted on the ministry’s official channel on the Telegram social network.

On Saturday, Ukrainian authorities reported that another young baby was among those killed after debris from an Iranian-made drone fell on the building — one of eight reported Russian drones by the authorities. Later in the day, President Zelensky said a second child had also died and called on kyiv's Western partners to send more air defense systems.

“Tymofiy was four months old. Mark was about to turn three. My condolences to all their loved ones,” Zelensky wrote in English on the social network X. He added that a three-year-old girl and seven other people were injured in the attack.

“Delays in the delivery of weapons to Ukraine, as well as in air defense intended to protect our population, unfortunately lead to such losses. Ukraine has never asked for anything other than what is necessary to protect human lives,” Mr. Zelensky argued.

12 dead in Russian strike on Odessa building

Photo: Oleksandr Gimanov Agence France-Presse Residents stand outside the apartment building destroyed by a Russian drone strike in Odessa on Saturday.

Four more people may be trapped in the rubble in Odessa, the local branch of Ukraine's main emergency service said in a Facebook update on Sunday. Oleh Kiper, the local governor, said rescuers continue to search the site and regional authorities have announced a day of mourning for the victims.

Explosions in an oil depot

In Russian-occupied Crimea, loud explosions were heard near an oil depot in the early hours of Sunday, according to a local pro-Kiev news channel on Telegram, while officials installed in the territory by the Kremlin declared that a nearby section of highway was closed to motorists for more than eight hours.

Videos shared with pro-Ukrainian channel Crimean Wind showed explosions lighting up the night sky, followed by loud noises. The channel said they were captured by residents near Feodosia, a coastal town in northeastern Crimea. It was not immediately possible to verify the circumstances in which the videos were filmed.

An underground anti-Russian group led by the Crimean Tatars claimed later in the day that the explosions had destroyed a pipeline, causing “colossal” damage.

The Atesh group — meaning “fire” in Crimean Tatar — did not directly claim responsibility for the attack and said it learned of its aftermath through informants among Russian-appointed officials. kyiv authorities did not immediately acknowledge or comment on these allegations.

Chinese special envoy talks with Russia

In Moscow, China's special envoy for Ukraine met with senior Russian diplomats on Saturday evening as part of the first leg of a European trip that will also take him in Brussels, Poland, Germany and France, Chinese and Russian state media reported.

In a statement released Sunday morning, China's Foreign Ministry said special representative Li Hui and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin agreed that negotiations were the only way to end the fighting in Ukraine.

Mr. Li's trip, the second since last May, comes as kyiv seeks to obtain Beijing's participation in the peace talks that Switzerland is trying to organize this spring. China claims to be neutral in Russia's war against Ukraine, but maintains close ties with Moscow, with frequent state visits and joint military exercises between the two countries.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116