Five children among 12 killed as Russia hits Odesa apartment block

Five children among 12 killed as Russia hits Odesa apartment block

The death toll from a Russian drone attack on an apartment block in the Ukrainian city of Odesa has tragically risen to 12, including the bodies of five children recovered from the rubble, officials confirmed on Sunday. This marks the latest devastating loss of civilian lives amid an unrelenting bombing campaign by Russian forces.

Oleh Kiper, the head of Odesa regional military administration, reported on Telegram that the body of another infant, believed to be less than a year old, was found alongside a woman’s body. The woman, identified as Anna by her sister in a statement to CNN, was a florist and decorator who was in her bedroom on the second floor of the building when the drone strike occurred. Tragically, her four-month-old child was also among the victims.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a toddler named Mark, who was just two years old and set to turn three on Sunday, was also among those killed in the attack. However, amidst the devastation, five individuals were rescued alive from the wreckage, offering a glimmer of hope amid the tragedy.

The assault left the facade of the apartment block in ruins, prompting Andriy Kostin, Prosecutor General of Ukraine, to condemn the attack as a deliberate targeting of civilians, noting the absence of any military facility nearby. As a gesture of mourning, Sunday was declared a day of mourning in Odesa by the city’s administration.

President Zelensky emphasized the urgent need to bolster Ukraine’s air defense capabilities in response to the attack, highlighting the critical role such defenses play in saving lives. He stressed the importance of acquiring more air defense systems and missiles to safeguard against further aerial assaults.

The devastating attack underscores Ukraine’s plea for increased military aid from its Western allies as it continues to confront Russia’s aggression, now entering its third year. Zelensky warned of dire consequences if the United States fails to approve President Joe Biden’s $60 billion aid request for Kyiv, citing the staggering loss of Ukrainian lives in the conflict. Despite these urgent pleas, Republican leadership in the House has been hesitant to hold a vote on providing additional funding.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is considering tapping into its remaining sources of funding for military aid to support Ukraine’s war effort against Russia, even without assurances of replenishment from Congress, according to multiple defense officials.

In a separate bombing incident in the town of Kurakhove in the Donetsk region, 16 people were injured, Zelensky reported. He also highlighted Russia’s intensified aerial bombardment in recent days, including the deployment of guided aerial bombs, drones, and missiles against Ukraine. Despite facing significant challenges and losses, Zelensky emphasized the resilience of Ukrainian soldiers in defending their positions and reiterated the urgent need for international support.