At least 18 Ukrainians, including two children, were killed and another 30 injured in Russian missile attacks near the port city of Odesa early Friday, the Ukrainian government said.
The attacks were centered on a residential area of the small town of Serhiivka, around 30 miles southwest of Odesa. Missiles rained down on an apartment building – where 16 of the 18 died – and a resort, local news reports said.
Russian troops pulled out of nearby Snake Island on Thursday, which they had strategically taken near the beginning of the invasion to potentially attack Odesa.
Russia called the pullout a “goodwill” gesture but Ukraine said it was a retreat from Ukraine’s artillery attacks.
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“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.
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Russia failed to take Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, in the early days of the war and has since refocused its ground forces on capturing the disputed eastern Donbas region.
It has also doubled its missile attacks across the rest of the country, Reuters reported.
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On Monday, a missile strike on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, in central Ukraine, killed at least 19 people and injured another 62, authorities said Friday.
Russia has been repeatedly accused of targeting civilians and of war crimes, including child rape, all of which the country denies.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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