Ukraine: 'Vile' Airstrike Leaves at Least 21 Dead

Zelensky's office: Russia fired 3 missiles on apartment building, campsite in Serhiivka
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 2, 2022 6:00 AM CDT
Russian Airstrike on Ukraine Residents Kills at Least 21
Firefighters work Friday at a damaged residential building in the town of Serhiivka, located about 31 miles southwest of Odesa, Ukraine.   (AP Photo/Nina Lyashonok)

(Newser) – A Russian airstrike on residential areas killed at least 21 people early Friday near the Ukrainian port of Odesa, authorities reported, a day after the withdrawal of Moscow's forces from an island in the Black Sea had seemed to ease the threat to the city. Video of the attack before daybreak showed the charred ruins of buildings in the small town of Serhiivka, about 31 miles from Odesa. The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said warplanes fired three missiles that struck an apartment building and a campsite, per the AP. "The occupiers cannot win on the battlefield, so they resort to vile killing of civilians," said Ivan Bakanov, head of Ukraine's security service, the SBU.

Ukrainian authorities interpreted the attack as payback for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Snake Island a day earlier, though Moscow portrayed their departure as a "goodwill gesture" to help unblock exports of grain. Russian forces took control of the island in the opening days of the war in the apparent hope of using it as a staging ground for an assault on Odesa, Ukraine's biggest port and the headquarters of its navy. Ukraine's military reported late Friday on social media that two Russian Su-30 warplanes bombed Snake Island with phosphorus bombs. Black-and-white aerial video showed two blasts hitting the island. The warplanes reportedly struck from the east, from Belbek, on the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula. The Russian military didn't immediately comment.

Early in the war, the island became a symbol of Ukrainian defiance. When a Russian warship demanded that its defenders surrender, they supposedly replied: "Go [expletive] yourself." Large numbers of civilians were killed in Russian bombardments earlier in the war, including at a hospital, a theater used as a shelter, and a train station. Until this week, mass casualties involving residents appeared to become less frequent as Moscow concentrated on capturing eastern Ukraine's Donbas region. Russian missiles struck the Kyiv region last weekend after weeks of relative calm around the capital, and an airstrike Monday on a shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk killed at least 19 people. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated claims that Moscow isn't targeting residential areas.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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