ODESA, Ukraine, April 3 (Reuters) – Russia missiles struck “critical infrastructure”, most likely a fuel depot, near Ukraine’s southern port city of Odesa in the early hours of Sunday but there were no casualties, officials in the city said.
Odesa, on the Black Sea coast, is a key Black Sea port and the main base for Ukraine’s navy. It has been a focus for Russian forces because if it is taken it would allow Moscow to build a land corridor to Transdniestria, a Russian-speaking breakaway province of Moldova which hosts Russian troops.
Russia’s defence ministry said missile strikes by its military destroyed an oil refinery and three fuel storage facilities near Odesa on Sunday, adding that the facilities were used by Ukraine to supply its troops near the city of Mykolaiv.
Vladyslav Nazarov, an officer of Ukraine’s South Operational Command, said on Telegram: “Russia began with a missile strike. The Odesa region was among the priority targets. The enemy continued its vile practice of strikes against critical infrastructure.”
“Smoke is visible in some areas of the city. All relevant systems and structures are working … No casualties reported.”
Vika, a local resident who declined to give her surname, said it was not “a good morning for Odesa”.
“We woke up to powerful explosions near our home. There was smoke, the children were in a panic, the windows were blown in … it was terrifying,” she told Reuters.
“‘Russian peace’, we are completely not happy that it has come and we ask you to leave.”
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it calls a “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” its neighbour. Ukraine rejects that as a baseless pretext for a war of aggression.
Photo – A still image taken from a handout video made available by the Russian Defence Ministry press service.