Thu. Oct 6th, 2022

Kyiv, Ukraine — Russian missile attacks on residential areas in a coastal town near Ukraine‘s port city of Odesa early Friday killed at least 18 people, including two children, authorities reported, a day after Russian forces withdrew from the strategic Snake Island in the Black Sea.

Video of the pre-dawn attack showed the charred remains of buildings in the small town of Serhiivka, located about 30 miles southwest of Odesa. Ukrainian news reports said missiles struck a multi-story apartment building and a resort area.

“A terrorist country is killing our people. In response to defeats on the battlefield, they fight civilians,” Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

At least 17 dead as Russian missiles hit Odesa: Ukraine
A building destroyed by a Russian missile attack that left 17 people dead and 31 injured according to Ukrainian officials is seen in Odesa, Ukraine, July 1, 2022.

Maksym Voitenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty

The deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Kirill Tymoshenko, said 18 people died, including two children. A spokesman for the Odesa regional government, Serhiy Bratchuk, said on the Telegram messaging app that another 30 had been injured. Sixteen of the 18 victims died in the strike on the apartment building, Ukrainian emergency officials said.

The airstrikes followed the pullout of Russian forces from Snake Island on Thursday, a move that was expected to potentially ease the threat to nearby Odesa. The island sits along a busy shipping lane. Russia took control of it in the opening days of the war in the apparent hope of using it as a staging ground for an assault on Odesa.

A satellite image shows an overview of Snake Island
A satellite image shows an overview of Snake Island, Ukraine, on June 21, 2022.

Maxar Technologies/Reuters

The Kremlin portrayed the pullout from Snake Island as a “goodwill gesture.” Ukraine’s military claimed a barrage of its artillery and missiles forced the Russians to flee in two small speedboats. The exact number of withdrawing troops was not disclosed.

Russian bombardments killed large numbers of civilians earlier in the war, including at a hospital and a theater in the port city of Mariupol. Mass casualties had appeared to become more infrequent as Moscow concentrated on capturing eastern Ukraine’s entire Donbas region.

However, a missile strike Monday on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, a city in central Ukraine, killed at least 19 people and injured another 62, authorities said Friday.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday denied that Russian forces targeted the shopping mall, insisting that his country doesn’t hit civilian facilities. He claimed the target in Kremenchuk was a nearby weapons depot, echoing the remarks of his military officials.

CBS News’ Ramy Inocencio visited both sites this week, however, including the alleged military facility — an asphalt plant that was also hit by a Russian cruise missile — and found no evidence that the attack on the plant had ignited a fire at the mall a third of a mile away, as some Russian media suggested.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other officials have shared videos online, from security cameras in the area, showing what they say is the moment a Russian X-22 cruise missile slammed into the mall. Other videos show civilians in an adjacent park scurrying for cover after a huge blast sends a shockwave through the area.

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