Ukraine-Russia War: Russian airstrikes target Odesa, one killed

Over 3,000 civilians killed so far - UN • US 'can't confirm' whether Russian army chief hurt during visit to Donbas

A view shows graves of civilians killed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 19, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)
A view shows graves of civilians killed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 19, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)

 A rocket strike hit a dwelling and a church in the Black Sea port city of Odesa in southwestern Ukraine on Monday evening, killing a child, officials were quoted as saying.

Five people were in the residential building when the rocket struck, Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted a security official in the port as saying. A second child was taken to hospital.

The official said the blast damaged windows, walls and the roof of the adjacent Orthodox church.

The Secretary of Ukraine's Security Council, Oleksiy Danylov, quoted by media, confirmed there had been dead and injured in the attack. The strike, he said, had blown the roof off the church.

Earlier on Monday, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) said on Monday that the death toll of civilians killed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24 had exceeded 3,000 people.

The toll of 3,153 killed so far represents an increase of 254 from Friday.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a joint news conference with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi (not pictured), as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine April 26, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a joint news conference with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi (not pictured), as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine April 26, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)

OHCHR said that the real toll was likely to be considerably higher, citing access difficulties and ongoing corroboration efforts.

Most of the victims were killed by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, such as missiles and airstrikes, the rights office said, without attributing responsibility.

The United States believes that the Russian military's chief of the general staff, Valery Gerasimov, visited Ukraine's Donbas region last week but cannot confirm media reports that he was wounded during fighting, a US defense official said on Monday.

"We can confirm he was in the Donbas," the senior US official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Read more of The Jerusalem Post's coverage of the Ukraine-Russia war:

Evacuations screech to a halt

Buses seeking to evacuate more civilians from Mariupol have not yet reached the agreed pickup point, the city council said on Monday, contradicting an earlier report that they had left the devastated port city in southeast Ukraine.

The city council urged the evacuees to remain in place. It was not immediately clear what had caused the delay.

Earlier, Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to Mariupol's mayor, had said the buses had left Mariupol but he later put out a message that also confirmed the hitch in the planned evacuation.

The civilians in question are from the city itself, not from the Azovstal steelworks, from where the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross has organized evacuation convoys.

Russia resumed shelling of the Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on Sunday as soon as buses evacuating civilians from the plant had left, an aide to the city's mayor said on Monday.

Mariupol, which has seen the heaviest fighting of the war in Ukraine so far, is now largely in Russian hands but an unknown number of civilians and fighters remain trapped at Azovstal, whose network of bunkers and tunnels has provided shelter from weeks of Russian bombardment.

"Yesterday, as soon as the buses left Azovstal with the evacuees, new shelling began immediately," said Petro Andryushchenko, the mayor's aide, told Ukrainian television. 101 people were evacuated from the power plant, according to Russian media. Ukrainian President Zelensky tweeted on Sunday that he and the UN are "working on the evacuation of other civilians from the plant."

The Ukraine leader also said that he "cannot say that Russia will not use nuclear weapons," Pravda reported citing an interview that Zelensky did with the Australian TV channel Nine Network.

Ukraine has formally closed its four Black and Azov seaports, which Russian forces have captured, the Ukrainian agriculture ministry said on Monday.

The Azov Sea ports of Mariupol, Berdiansk and Skadovsk, along with the Black Sea port of Kherson were closed "until the restoration of control", the ministry said in a statement.

"The adoption of this measure is caused by the impossibility of servicing ships and passengers, carrying out cargo, transport and other related economic activities, ensuring the appropriate level of safety of navigation," it said.

All Ukrainian seaports have suspended their activity as a result of the Russian invasion in late February. Russian forces captured some ports and blockaded others.

More bodies found in Kyiv

Law enforcement officers have found more than 1,200 corpses in the Kyiv region, Ukrinform reported, citing Ukrainian Police Chief Andriy Nebytov, who also stated that the killings were done by Russian forces. Police reportedly are unable to identify 280 of the bodies.

"I urge citizens once again: if you know about the disappearance of people and if you have lost contact with them - please report all information to law enforcement," said Nebytov.

The police chief went on to say that 300 Ukrainians are missing as of Monday.

"We hope to find these people alive. We know that many people lost contact because they lost their mobile phones, because the occupiers confiscated them, or even because they were forcibly evacuated to Belarus or Russia."

The ongoing fight

Ukrainian paratroopers killed a group of Russian special forces in the Donetsk region, according to a Monday afternoon report by Pravda.

A Ukrainian Bayraktar drone destroyed two Russian Raptor-class patrol ships in the Black Sea on Monday, Ukraine's military chief said.

"Two Russian Raptor-class boats were destroyed at dawn today near Zmiinyi (Snake) Island," Chief of General Staff Valeriy Zaluzhniy wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

There was no immediate reaction from Moscow to the claim.

Two explosions were heard in the Russian city Belgorod on Monday morning, TASS reported citing the city's governor. 

"I woke up to the sound of two powerful explosions half an hour ago. According to the anti-crisis center, there were no reports of casualties or damage," Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on Telegram.

However, Gladkov later clarified his statement that the explosions in Belgorod were not caused by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, according to Russian media.

A Russian rocket strike hit a strategically important bridge across the Dniester estuary in the Odesa region of southwest Ukraine on Monday, local authorities said.

The bridge, which has already been hit twice by Russian forces, provides the only road and rail link on Ukrainian territory to a large southern section of the Odesa region.

Serhiy Bratchuk, the Odesa regional administration's spokesman, reported the strike on the Telegram messaging app but gave no further details.

Ukrainian Armed Forces destroyed three units of equipment owned by Russian forces in the Kharkiv region on Monday, according to Ukrinform.

Casualties

Russia's defense ministry said on Monday that the Russian military had shot down a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet near Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine.

It said in a briefing it had hit 38 military targets in Ukraine, including ammunition depots and control centers.

Russian casualties since the invasion began stands at 23,800 personnel, 1,048 tanks, 459 artillery systems, 80 anti-aircraft warfare systems, 155 helicopters, 1,824 vehicles and 84 cruise missiles, according to a Monday morning update by the Ukrainian General Staff of Armed Forces and the Internal Affairs Ministry.