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Eight killed in Russian drone attack on Odesa, Ukraine says

Published 03/02/2024, 02:42 AM
Updated 03/02/2024, 04:47 PM
© Reuters. A general view shows an apartment building heavily damaged by a Russian drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine March 2, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer

By Iryna Nazarchuk

ODESA, Ukraine (Reuters) -A Russian drone attack whose multiple victims included an infant and a two-year-old on Saturday could have been avoided if Ukraine was not facing delays to weapons supplies, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

Seven Western leaders have signed 10-year security agreements with Ukraine in the last two months as Kyiv fights to plug a big hole in stockpiles with a vital package of U.S. military assistance stuck in Congress and facing months of Republican opposition.

"When lives are lost, and partners are simply playing internal political games or disputes, limiting our defence, it's impossible to understand," Zelenskiy said.

As emergency services posted images of bodies being pulled from the rubble of an apartment block in the southern port city of Odesa, he also used his nightly video address to deliver a strong message to his new army chief, Oleksandr Syrskyi, who replaced Valeriy Zaluzhnyi in a shakeup last month.

"The commander-in-chief has carte blanche for personnel changes in the army, in the headquarters, for any changes," Zelenskiy said. He said he expected a "detailed report and specific proposals for further changes" from Syrskyi when he returns from the front early in the week.

Rescue workers pulled eight bodies out of the rubble and were still searching for more late in the night. Zelenskiy said earlier that an Iranian-supplied Shahed drone destroyed 18 apartments in a single apartment block.

Oleh Kiper, the regional governor, said the adults killed included three men aged 35, 40 and 54, and two women aged 31 and 73. Eight people were wounded, including a three-year-old girl.

Zelenskiy said Russian attacks using Iranian-supplied Shahed drones "make no military sense" and were intended only to kill and intimidate.

"The world knows that terror can be opposed," he said. "Delaying the supply of weapons to Ukraine, missile defence systems to protect our people, leads, unfortunately, to such losses."

Zelenskiy identified the youngest victims of the attack as four-month-old Tymofiy and Mark, aged two.

Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said the infant was found dead alongside his mother and posted a photograph of a rescue worker next to a bloodied blanket, a baby's arm visible on one side and an adult arm extending out the other.

Smoke poured from rubble strewn across the ground where the drone had ripped a chunk several storeys high out of the building.

"My husband quickly ran out to help people ... then I saw people running out and I understood people had died in there," said Svitlana Tkachenko, who lives in a neighbouring building.

Clothes and furniture were scattered in the ruined mass of concrete and steel hanging off the side of the apartment block.

Ukraine's State Emergencies Service posted photos including of a dead toddler being placed in a body bag by rescuers.

© Reuters. Local residents react at the site of an apartment building heavily damaged by a Russian drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine March 2, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer

"This is impossible to forget. This is impossible to forgive," it said in a statement. It said five people, including a child, had been rescued alive.

Several thousand long-range, winged, Shahed drones have been fired at targets inside Ukraine since Moscow's full-scale invasion two years ago.

Latest comments

putin has lost. NATOs borders to russia have doubled, and he is stuck in a Ukrainian quagmire he can't get out of.. slaughtering a whole generation in the process.. let's pray for his braincancer to kill him off swiftly but painfully...
No new wars during Trump administration.  Biden and his supporters love war because they make money on it!
Sure, if you don't count the wars in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania. Another magabilly who can't get his facts straight.
more rambling nonsense from blowjoe..
Say a prayer for a peace deal.
after telling the world he's supports the invasion of Europe by the brutal war mongers in the Russian federation, it's not Trump.
the only acceptable peace deal with the Russians, is a total withdrawal of Russian troops from ALL of Ukraine they occupy .
let's pray for the total destruction of the Russian State.
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