Death toll rises after block of flats destroyed in Russian attack

3 March 2024, 17:54

Destroyed building
Destroyed building. Picture: PA

The death toll from the drone strike in Odesa, southern Ukraine, has risen to 11.

The death toll from a Russian drone strike that destroyed a block of flats in Ukraine’s southern port city of Odesa rose to 11 on Sunday, when an official said the bodies of two more children and a young mother were pulled from the rubble.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on western allies to boost Ukraine’s air defences in the wake of the deadly attack on Saturday.

Oleh Kiper, governor of the Odesa region, on Sunday said that the body of a 10-year-old boy named Serhii was found amid the debris.

Hours earlier, Ukraine’s interior ministry reported that rescue workers retrieved the remains of a woman clutching an infant.

A statement said: “The mother tried to cover the eight-month-old child with her own (body). She tried to save them. They were found in a firm embrace.”

Destroyed building
Search teams are continuing to comb through the rubble (Ukrainian police press office/AP)

Authorities had earlier said a baby was among those killed after falling debris from an Iranian-made drone hit the apartment building, one of eight Russian drones reported by officials. Later that day, Mr Zelensky said a second child also died.

He wrote on X: “Tymofiy was 4 months old. Mark was about to turn 3 years old. My condolences to all of their close ones.” He added that a three-year-old girl and seven other people were injured in the attack.

He continued: “Delays in the delivery of weapons to Ukraine, as well as air defence to protect our people, unfortunately result in such losses. Ukraine has never requested anything more than what is necessary to protect lives.”

Destroyed building
Several children were among those killed in the attack (Ukrainian Emergency Service/AP)

Meanwhile, Russia’s defence ministry reported 38 Ukrainian drones were intercepted overnight into Sunday over the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow illegally annexed from Kyiv in 2014. A bridge that connects Crimea to Russian territory was closed to traffic for about two hours in the early hours.

In Moscow, China’s special envoy on Ukraine held talks on Saturday with senior Russian diplomats in the first leg of a European trip that will also take him to Brussels, Poland, Germany and France, Chinese and Russian state media reported.

In a statement published on Sunday, China’s foreign ministry said special representative Li Hui and Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Galuzin agreed that negotiations are the only way to end the fighting in Ukraine.

Mr Li’s trip, the second since last May, comes as Kyiv seeks Beijing’s participation in peace talks that Switzerland is trying to organise in the spring. China claims it is neutral in Russia’s war on Ukraine but maintains close ties with Moscow, with frequent state visits and joint military drills between the two nations.

By Press Association

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