At least 21 people, including a child, were killed when Russia launched overnight missile strikes at a residential building and a recreation center near Odesa, southern Ukraine, officials said on Friday.
The attack hit a housing block, killing 16 people, according to Ukraine’s State Emergency Services.
Another four people, including a child, died when a missile hit a community center, while a third missile landed in a field. At least 40 people were injured, responders said.
“We don’t expect to find anyone alive, but there is a chance,” first deputy interior minister Yevhenii Yenin said on Friday, speaking from the scene of the attacks.
Images from the scene showed the residential building torn apart and debris strewn across the ground.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia is conducting terrorism against his country’s cities and people.
“This is not a single strike and not an accident, as the Russian mass media say every day. This is a targeted Russian missile attack, Russian terror against our cities, towns, our people, adults and children,” he said.
He described the Russian missile as a “supersonic cruise anti-ship missile” that was “created to attack aircraft carriers and other large military ships, and the Russian army used it against an ordinary building with ordinary civilians.”
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned the strikes on Twitter, saying: “Terrorist state Russia continues its war against civilians with overnight missile strikes on Odesa region killing dozens, including children. I urge partners to provide Ukraine with modern missile defense systems as soon as possible. Help us save lives and put an end to this war.”
One of the buildings struck by the strikes was a rehabilitation center for treating Moldovan children with health problems, according to Moldova’s Minister of Health Ala Nemerenco.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied on Friday that Russia targets civilian areas in Ukraine and repeated the frequent claim that it focuses its air strikes on buildings containing ammunition or training troops.