Seven killed in Russian drone attack on Ukraine’s Odesa apartment block

Separate attacks killed an additional three people in Ukraine as Zelenskyy urges the West to deliver more air defences.

Rescuers remove the body of a local resident at the site of a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian drone attack in Odesa, Ukraine on March 2, 2024 [Stringer/Reuters]

A Russian drone attack on an apartment block in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odesa has killed at least seven people, including a three-year-old and a woman with an infant child, regional authorities said.

“Rescuers in Odesa have just uncovered the bodies of a mother with a three-month-old baby,” Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said in a post on the Telegram app on Saturday.

At the scene, smoke poured from rubble strewn across the ground where the drone had ripped a chunk several storeys high out of the building. Clothes and furniture were scattered in the ruined mass of concrete and steel hanging off the side of the apartment block.

Ukraine’s State Emergencies Service posted photos, including of a dead toddler being placed in a body bag by rescuers.

“This is impossible to forget! This is impossible to forgive,” it wrote. It said five people including a child had been rescued alive.

Odesa region governor Oleh Kiper said eight people were wounded, and rescuers were still looking for more people under the debris.

Zelenskyy calls for more air defences

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the drone was a Shahed supplied by Iran.

Russia has launched several thousand of these long-range winged drones throughout the war at targets deep inside Ukraine.

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from Kyiv, said a total of 17 Shahed drones targeted Ukraine in the overnight attacks, with most of them intercepted by air defences.

[Al Jazeera]

Separate shelling attacks on the front-line Kharkiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions killed three, Ukrainian officials have said.

The spate of attacks led Zelenskyy to re-iterate his calls on the West to deliver more air defence systems.

“We need more air defences from our partners. We need to strengthen the Ukrainian air shield to add more protection for our people from Russian terror. More air defence systems and more missiles for air defence systems save lives,” he said.

Ukraine is currently on the back foot in the two-year war as a crucial $60bn aid package is held up in the US Congress.

Local residents react at the site of an apartment building heavily damaged by a Russian drone attack, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Odesa on March 2, 2024 [Stringer/Reuters]

Drone crashes into building in St Petersburg

Ukraine also appears to have launched an attack of its own, with a drone striking a five-storey residential building in St Petersburg, Russia’s second city, on Saturday causing no casualties, according to Russia’s National Guard division.

Videos on Russian social media showed what appeared to be a drone spiralling downwards into the building, triggering an explosion, blowing out windows and causing small fires.

The city’s National Guard division said its preliminary assumption was the damage was caused by a “falling drone”.

Ukrainian media reported that the drone was shot down by Russia’s air defences while targeting an oil depot around a kilometre from the crash site.

Kyiv has hit several Russian oil facilities in recent months in what it has called fair retribution for Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine’s power grid.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies