Russian strikes on Odessa, a large city in southern Ukraine, left at least eight people injured and damaged. notably a historical art museum on Sunday night in Paris. Monday, according to Ukrainian officials.
Images released by city authorities and the museum show debris and shards of glass on the floor of the Odessa Museum of Fine Arts, some of which had shattered windows.
Some walls are cracked and paintings appear to have been thrown to the ground by the force of the explosion.
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Eminé Djeppar said she was “deeply outraged ” by this strike.
“The deliberate destruction of cultural sites is a crime against Ukrainian heritage,” she denounced, demanding “a strong international response and immediate action from UNESCO.”
The interim director of the museum, Kateryna Koulaï, for her part indicated to AFP that an assessment of “the (potential) damage invisible to the naked eye” was underway.
Police experts inspect a crater in front of the Museum of Fine Arts in Odessa, after a strike the day before, on November 6, 2023 in Ukraine © AFP – Oleksandr GIMANOV
Most works on display had been “evacuated,” said Oleg Kiper, an official with the regional authorities.
“The drawings and paintings of the current exhibitions were not damaged,” he said on Telegram.
The Odessa Museum of Fine Arts, an elegant pink building, was was inaugurated at the end of the 19th century, according to its website.
– 19 soldiers killed –
Kiev accused Moscow of firing four missiles and launching attack drones from the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia.
Photo released by the Museum of Fine Arts in Odessa on November 6, 2023, showing the damage caused in an exhibition room by a strike the day before, in Ukraine © Museum of Fine Arts from Odessa – Handout
In the Odessa region, eight people were injured, announced Ukrainian Interior Minister Igor Klimenko.
The strikes also hit around twenty buildings and infrastructure whose nature has not been specified.
Ukraine fears seeing Moscow launch systematic attacks on its energy infrastructure, like last winter, imposing heating and power cuts on millions of people.
Kiev has called on its Western allies to strengthen its air defenses to ward off a feared intensification of Russian strikes during the winter.
In the Kherson region, also located in the South, buildings were hit by a missile, according to Oleksandr Prokudin, the governor.
One of these buildings “was hit for the third time by the enemy,” he said, adding that the strike had injured a resident.
The Ukrainian air force for its part affirmed that “fifteen Shahed (drones) and one Kh-59 guided aerial missile (had) been shot down”, referring to Iranian-made drones.
Ukraine also confirmed that a Russian missile caused the death of 19 of its soldiers Friday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky inspects the latest models of artillery and engineering weapons during a visit to a military training center at an undisclosed location, November 3, 2023 © Service release from the Ukrainian Presidency – Handout
According to local media, the soldiers were gathered for a decoration ceremony near the front line, in the Zaporizhzhia region.
The Ukrainian army had confirmed that soldiers had died, without so far specifying their number.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Sunday that an investigation would be carried out into the circumstances of this “tragedy which could have been avoided”, according to him.
All rights of reproduction and representation reserved . © (2023) Agence France-Presse