Ukraine war: Russian strikes on Odesa damage Orthodox cathedral
No less than one individual has been killed and 19 more injured in new Russian rocket strikes on the port city of Odesa, officials have said.
Regional Governor Oleh Kiper said 14 individuals were hospitalized in the blasts, including four kids.
The historical Transfiguration Cathedral was badly damaged by the strikes, the city council said.
Moscow has been launching near-constant attacks on Odesa since it pulled out from a landmark grain deal on Monday.
“Odesa: another night attack of the monsters,” Mr Kiper wrote on Telegram. He added that six residential buildings – including several apartment buildings – were destroyed by the strikes.
Odesa’s military administration said that the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Moscow-linked Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) was severely damaged.
The building is Odesa’s largest Orthodox church and was consecrated in 1809. It was demolished by the Soviet Union in 1939, before being re-built in 2003.
In a video posted to social media by the city council, Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov could be seen walking through rubble inside the church.
Andriy Palchuk, the archdeacon of the Cathedral, said he was the first person to arrive at the scene.
“The destruction is enormous; half of the cathedral was left without a roof, and the central piles and foundation were destroyed,” he said.
“All the windows and stucco molding were blown out. There was a fragmentary fire, the part where icons and candles are sold in the church caught fire. It was all on fire, burning.”
The UN’s cultural agency, Unesco, has repeatedly urged Russia to cease attacks on Odesa. The city’s historic center was designated an endangered World Heritage by the organization earlier this year, despite Russian opposition.
But in an update posted to Facebook, Ukraine’s southern command said Russia had targeted the Odesa region with at least five different types of missiles.
The head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, repeated calls for more missiles and defense systems after the latest attack on Odesa.
“This is the undisguised terror of a peaceful city,” Mr Yermak wrote on Telegram. “The enemy must be deprived of the opportunity to attack civilians and infrastructure.”
Moscow has notably stepped up attacks on the port city since it withdrew from the UN-backed grain deal on Monday and Ukraine has accused it of targeting grain supplies and infrastructure vital to the deal.
A strike earlier this week destroyed some 60,000 tonnes of grain, officials said.
Odesa is Ukraine’s biggest port, and millions of tonnes of grain have been shipped from its docks under the terms of the deal.
The deal – brokered by Turkey and the UN – between Russia and Ukraine was struck in July 2022, allowing cargo ships to sail along a corridor in the Black Sea.