Ukraine war: At least one killed in new Russian strikes on Odesaon July 23, 2023 at 4:19 am

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Odesa’s regional governor said 14 people were hospitalised in the blasts, including four children.

The damaged Transfiguration CathedralImage source, Reuters

At least one person has been killed and 19 more injured in fresh Russian missile strikes on the port city of Odesa, officials have said.

Regional Governor Oleh Kiper said 14 people were hospitalised in the blasts, including four children.

The historical Transfiguration Cathedral was also damaged by the strikes, the city council said.

Moscow has been launching near constant attacks on Odesa since it withdrew from a landmark grain deal on Monday.

“Odesa: another night attack of the monsters,” Mr Kiper wrote on Telegram. He added that six residential buildings – including several apartment buildings – were destroyed by the strikes.

Odesa’s military administration said that the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Moscow-linked Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) was also severely damaged.

The building is Odesa’s largest Orthodox church and was consecrated in 1809. It was demolished by the Soviet Union in 1939, before being re-built in 2003.

In a video posted to social media by the city council, Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov could be seen walking through rubble inside the church.

Other clips uploaded to social media showed a distressed man walking inside the cathedral repeating: “The church is no longer …. Lord, have mercy.”

The BBC was unable to immediately independently verify reports of damage or the video.

The UN’s cultural agency, Unesco, has repeatedly urged Russia to cease attacks on Odesa. The city’s historic centre was designated an endangered World Heritage by the organisation earlier this year, despite Russian opposition.

But in an update posted to Facebook, Ukraine’s southern command said Russia had targeted the Odesa region with at least five different types of missiles.

The head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, repeated calls for more missiles and defence systems after the latest attack on Odesa.

“This is the undisguised terror of a peaceful city,” Mr Yermak wrote on Telegram. “The enemy must be deprived of the opportunity to attack civilians and infrastructure.”

Moscow has notably stepped up attacks on the port city since it withdrew from the UN backed grain deal on Monday and Ukraine has accused it of targeting grain supplies and infrastructure vital to the deal.

A strike earlier this week destroyed some 60,000 tonnes of grain, officials said.

Odesa is Ukraine’s biggest port, and millions of tonnes of grain have been shipped from its docks under the terms of the deal.

The deal – brokered by Turkey and the UN – between Russia and Ukraine was struck in July 2022, allowing cargo ships to sail along a corridor in the Black Sea.

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