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8 dead as Russian drone hits residential building in Ukraine’s Odesa


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 Zelenskyy 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 US 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,” Zelenskyy 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,” Zelenskyy 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.

Zelenskyy 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.

Zelenskyy 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.”

Zelenskyy 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 a dead toddler being placed in a body bag by rescuers.

“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.

Published By:

Karishma Saurabh Kalita

Published On:

Mar 3, 2024

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