At least 14 people were killed in a Russian rocket attack on a residential building in the southern Ukrainian region of Odessa, according to Ukrainian sources. The Ukrainian emergency services spoke of 14 dead and 30 injured on Friday. Three children were among the injured. The rescue work would continue, but they would be complicated by a fire.
The spokesman for the Odessa regional administration, Serhiy Brachuk, had previously said that the rocket hit a nine-story apartment building in the Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky area, about 80 kilometers south of the port city of Odessa. The rocket was fired from a plane flying over the Black Sea.
According to Ukrainian sources, the residential building was partially destroyed by the attack. The rescue workers had initially spoken of six dead and seven injured. The death toll later rose to 10 and then 14.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has distanced itself from controversial statements by its ambassador in Germany. Andriy Melnyk had denied that there was evidence of the mass murder of Jews by supporters of Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera in World War II. “Bandera was not a mass murderer of Jews and Poles,” said Melnyk in the video interview with journalist Tilo Jung that was published on Thursday night. He would confirm this again and again, according to the Ukrainian ambassador in Germany.
In a statement, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has now turned its back on Melnyk and clarified: “The opinion expressed by the Ambassador of Ukraine to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, in an interview with a German journalist is his own and does not reflect the position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.”
Among other things, Melnyk pointed out that Stepan Bandera, whom he called a “freedom fighter”, was arrested by the Germans just under a week after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Born in 1909 in what was then Polish Galicia, Bandera was murdered in Munich in 1959 by a Soviet agent. According to Melnyk, the character Banderas was deliberately demonized by the Soviet Union.
Russian withdrawal from Snake Island puts Ukraine in a better position, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “Snake Island is a strategic point and that significantly changes the situation in the Black Sea,” he said on Friday night. This significantly restricts the Russian military’s freedom of action, even if this does not guarantee security.
Russia occupied Snake Island shortly after attacking Ukraine on February 24. The fact that the few Ukrainian soldiers in front of it obscenely recommended the later sunk Russian cruiser “Moskva” to go to hell made the small island famous and boosted the morale of the Ukrainians. The reconquest of the island is also a symbolic success for them. Zelenskyy said that in this way the Russian troops would be pushed out of the entire Ukrainian territory.
According to the Ukrainian military, Snake Island allows control over parts of Ukraine’s coast and shipping lanes. With the withdrawal of the Russians from the island, the area around the port city of Odessa need not fear a landing of Russian units.
According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine has started exporting electricity to the EU. “An important stage in our rapprochement with the European Union has been reached,” said Zelenskyy in a video message on Thursday evening. Ukraine “has started to export electricity to the territory of the EU through Romania in a significant way.” This is “only the first stage. We are preparing an increase in deliveries.”
“Ukrainian electricity can replace a significant part of the Russian gas consumed by Europeans,” said the President. “It’s not just about export earnings for us, it’s a matter of security for all of Europe.”
Ukraine was connected to the European power grid in mid-March. Before the Russian war of aggression against the country began on February 24, the Ukrainian grid was synchronized with the Russian grid.
On Thursday, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter that Ukraine could now export electricity to the EU market. “It will provide the EU with an additional power source. And Ukraine’s much-needed revenue. That’s why we both benefit.”
Also read: The Ukraine update of June 30 – Russia withdraws from Snake Island, again fuss about open letter