Ukraine war briefing: rescuers among at least 20 killed in Odesa in Russia’s deadliest attack in weeks | Ukraine

  • A Russian ballistic missile attack hit civilian infrastructure in Ukraine’s Black Sea city of Odesa on Friday, killing at least 20 people – including rescuers – and wounding more than 75 in Moscow’s deadliest attack in weeks, Ukrainian officials said. Two Russian ballistic missiles fired from the Moscow-occupied peninsula of Crimea struck a residential area in Odesa, the region’s governor, Oleh Kiper, said on national television. A medic and a rescuer were killed by a second missile after rushing to the scene to treat people hurt in the initial strike, he added. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, called the attack “vile”. A three-storey recreational facility was destroyed in the attack, as well as at least 10 private houses, the southern military command said. Saturday was declared a local day of mourning.

  • Germany’s chancellor, France’s president and Poland’s prime minister met in Berlin and, in a public briefing, said Europe was united and determined in its support for Ukraine. Olaf Scholz, Emmanuel Macron and Donald Tusk also said they would use frozen Russian assets to purchase more weapons for Ukraine on the world market. The meeting follows tensions between France and Germany over Russia.

  • One person was killed by Ukrainian shelling in the Russian city of Grayvoron in the Belgorod region, the governor said on Telegram. Earlier, Russia claimed it had thwarted attempts by Ukraine to stage cross-border raids into the territory, but produced no evidence to support this, while a senior Ukrainian intelligence official claimed that Kursk and Belgorod regions were “active combat zones”.

  • Two people were reported killed and five injured by Russian shelling in northern Ukraine’s Sumy region overnight to Friday, with houses and cars damaged. As well there were missile strikes in the Kharkiv, Poltava and Donetsk regions.

  • G7 countries warned Iran they would impose “significant” new sanctions if Tehran transferred ballistic missiles to Russia for use in Ukraine. The group – which includes the US, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada – also said it reiterated its “call on third parties to immediately cease providing material support” to Russia’s war “or face severe costs”.

  • Ukraine claimed to have attacked an oil refinery in the Kaluga region with drones, causing damage. Russian authorities claimed, as is their custom, that air defences shot down the drones and there was “no infrastructure damage or casualties”.

  • Russia’s federal security service said a Russian national had been detained in Moscow on suspicion of treason and had confessed to assembling and launching drones on behalf of Ukraine.

  • The European Union is set to agree on sanctions on several people seen as involved in the mistreatment and death of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in an Arctic penal colony last month, three diplomats have said.

  • Russia’s presidential election opened on Friday, with 114 million Russians eligible to vote, and will end on Sunday with an almost inevitable victory for Vladimir Putin. The president is running against Communist Nikolai Kharitonov, Leonid Slutsky, leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic party, and Vladislav Davankov of the New People party. Two anti-war candidates, Boris Nadezhdin and Yekaterina Duntsova, were barred from running by the electoral commission.

  • Voting is also taking place in the four occupied regions of Ukraine which Russia claims to have annexed despite its forces only partially controlling the territory. Kyiv has said the election there is illegal, and on Friday the UN secretary general, António Guterres, also condemned it, with a spokesperson saying Russia’s annexations had no validity under international law. At a meeting of Russia’s security council, Putin accused Ukraine of trying to disrupt the voting process and people in the border regions with “a number of criminal armed actions”. He claimed the attempts to break into Russia did not succeed and would not go unpunished.

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