Russian missile strikes kill 21 in Odesa region

At least 21 people, including one child, have died in overnight Russian missile strikes on Ukraine’s southern Odesa region, Ukrainian officials say.

The state emergency service, DSNS, says 16 people were killed in a nine-storey building hit by one missile in the village of Serhiyivka.

Another five people, including the child, were killed in a separate strike on a holiday resort in the village.

Russia has fired dozens of missiles on Ukrainian cities in the past few days.

On Friday Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov again denied that Russia was hitting civilian targets.

“We heard three explosions and now there is nothing left of the recreation centre,” local resident Yulia Bondar, 60, told the BBC.

“The village is very quiet, we never thought this could happen.”

Ukraine had hoped that the Russian withdrawal on Thursday from the strategically important Snake Island would ease the threat to Ukraine’s biggest Black Sea port of Odesa and wider region.

Russia said it had withdrawn its garrison as a “gesture of goodwill” to prove it was not obstructing grain exports from Odesa and other Ukrainian ports – but Ukraine dismissed that claim, saying Moscow continued to shell its grain stores. (Courtesy BBC)