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At least ten people have been killed after a Russian missile hit an apartment building in Odessa, Ukrainian officials have said.
The missile strike reportedly took place in the early hours of Friday morning in the southern region of the country.
‘The number of dead in the apartment building missile strike has risen to 10,’ said Odessa military administration spokesman Sergei Bratchuk, who added the missile had been fired by aircraft from the Black Sea.
‘One missile hit a nine-storey residential building,’ the army said, adding that another missile had struck a recreation centre.
‘In an apartment building, nine floors of one section are completely destroyed… rescuers have already provided medical care to seven wounded, including three children.’
The southern region of Odessa is a strategic flashpoint, as it is home to Ukraine’s historic port city of the same name.
Pictured: At least ten people have been killed after a Russian missile hit a nine-storey apartment building in Odessa, a key port in the country, Ukrainian officials have said
It comes a day after a separate Russian missile strike destroyed a residential building in the southern city of Mykolaiv on Wednesday.
The blast left at least seven dead and five wounded as the rescue operation continues.
Shocking video footage, from Wednesday, showed a missile hit the top corner of the block of homes, causing flames to tear through the top floor and leaving the upper part of the building completely destroyed.
Hours later, Russian President Vladimir Putin has angrily denied his forces attack civilian infrastructure – days after Ukraine said Russian missiles killed at least 18 people at a shopping centre in the central town of Kremenchuk.
Russian President Putin scrambled to deny his army were responsible for the missile strike on the shopping mall earlier this week which also left dozens still unaccounted for.
‘Our army does not attack any civilian infrastructure site. We have every capability of knowing what is situated where,’ Putin told a news conference in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat.
Destruction: At least seven people have been killed by a Russian missile strike on a block of homes in the southern city of Mykolaiv (pictured), Ukraine, local authorities have said
Onlookers gather as the shopping centre is engulfed by flames shortly after it was struck by two Russian guided missiles on Monday, while an estimated 1,000 people were inside
‘Nobody among us shoots just like that, randomly. It is normally done based on intelligence data on targets’ and with ‘high-precision weapons’.
‘I am convinced that this time, everything was done in this exact manner,’ Putin said.
The Russian autocrat was there for the VI Caspian Summit of leaders from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to discuss ‘topical issues of cooperation in the Caspian Sea’.
As many as 1,000 people were feared to have been inside when it was hit.
It comes after Russian troops hastily abandoned Snake Island yesterday in a fresh blow to Putin’s invasion just days after Ukraine’s armed forces launched a crippling rocket attack on the outpost.
Snake Island became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance in the first days of the war, when the rocky outcrop’s defenders told a Russian warship that called on them to surrender to ‘go f*ck yourself,’ an incident that spurred a defiant meme.
Ukraine pounded the Russian garrison on Snake Island again on June 20 and 21, just days after dealing a ‘significant’ blow to Putin’s Black Sea forces with an attack on the crucial outpost
It was also a strategic target, sitting aside shipping lanes near Ukraine’s port of Odessa. Russia had attempted to install missile and air defence batteries while under fire from drones.
Now, however, Ukraine has begun to receive longer range missiles and military gear from its Western backers, and the Russian position on Snake Island seems to have become untenable, officials said.
The Russian defence ministry statement described the retreat as ‘a gesture of goodwill’ meant to demonstrate that Moscow will not interfere with UN efforts to organise protected grain exports from Ukraine but Kyiv claimed it as a win.
‘I thank the defenders of Odessa region who took maximum measures to liberate a strategically important part of our territory,’ Valeriy Zaluzhny, the Ukraine military’s commander-in-chief, said on Telegram.