KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian missile attacks on residential buildings in the Ukrainian port city of Odesa early Friday killed at least 18 people, including two children, authorities reported, a day after Russian forces withdrew from a strategic Black Sea island.
Video of the pre-dawn attack showed the charred remains of buildings in Odesa.
The deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Kirill Tymoshenko, said 18 people died, including two children. A spokesman for the Odesa regional government, Serhiy Bratchuk, said on the Telegram messaging app that another 30 had been injured.
Ukrainian news reports said the target of the missile attack was a multi-story apartment building and a recreational area.
The assault comes after Russian forces pulled out from Snake Island on Thursday, potentially easing the threat to Odesa, it was initially thought. But they kept up their push to encircle the last stronghold of resistance in the eastern province of Luhansk.
The Kremlin portrayed the pullout from Snake Island as a “goodwill gesture.” Ukraine’s military claimed it forced the Russians to flee in two small speedboats following a barrage of Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes. The exact number of troops was not disclosed.
Snake Island sits along a busy shipping lane. Russia took control of it in the opening days of the war in the apparent hope of using it as a staging ground for an assault on Odesa.