Russia fires barrage of hypersonic missiles at Odessa after celebrating patriotic holiday

Latest political developments

  • The head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission said the death toll in Ukraine is likely to be significantly higher than the official number, which stands at 3,381.

  • The World Health Organization estimates that at least 3,000 people have died in Ukraine due to lack of access to treatments for chronic diseases.

  • Ukrainian, British and US officials warn that Russia’s stock of precision weapons is being used up, meaning the country may have to resort to more inaccurate missiles, potentially resulting in more civilian deaths.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron and Hungarian Prime Minister are expected to discuss a possible European Union ban on oil imports from Russia on Tuesday.

Updates from the ground on Day 76 of the war

  • The bodies of 44 civilians were found in the rubble of a building destroyed by Russia in March, in Izyum, Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

  • The Ukrainian army said Russia fired seven rockets at the port city of Odessa, hitting a shopping center and warehouse and killing one person.

  • Fierce fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, where Russia has refocused its efforts.

  • Ukrainian troops are putting the finishing touches on a steel factory in Mariupol, the last remaining stronghold in the strategic port city of Mariupol.


Russia attacks with ‘the dagger’

Spectators gather at a destroyed building on the outskirts of Odessa, Ukraine on Tuesday. Russian troops fired on the city after Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his country’s biggest patriotic holiday on Monday. (Max Pshybyshevsky/The Associated Press)

A barrage of attacks struck down the strategically located port city of Odessa after Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his country’s biggest patriotic holiday on Monday without boasting major battlefield successes.

The Ukrainian army said Russian forces fired seven rockets from the air at Odessa and hit a shopping center and warehouse. One person was killed and five were injured, the army said.

The Center for Defense Strategies, a Ukrainian war-monitoring think tank, said that during the attack, a Russian supersonic bomber fired three hypersonic missiles. It identified the weapons used as Kinzhal, or “Dagger”, hypersonic air-to-surface missiles.

The Kinzhal can fly five times the speed of sound and has a range of 2,000 kilometers. By using advanced guided missiles, Russia can fire remotely from aircraft without being in Ukrainian airspace and exposed to possible anti-aircraft fire.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian, British and US officials are warning that Russia is quickly depleting its stock of precision weapons and may not be able to build more any time soon. That increases the risk of more inaccurate missiles being used as the conflict continues, potentially resulting in more civilian deaths and other collateral damage.

44 found buried in the rubble

Ukrainian officials announced on Tuesday that the bodies of 44 civilians had been found in the rubble of a five-story building in the northeast, which was destroyed in an attack weeks ago.

“This is another terrible war crime by the Russian occupiers against the civilian population!” Oleh Synehubov, the head of Kharkiv’s regional administration, said in a social media post announcing the deaths.

The building collapsed in March in Izyum in the Kharkiv region. The area has been under constant attack from Russia since the start of the war in late February.

UN says death toll significantly higher

According to the latest update from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 3,381 civilians have been killed and 3,680 injured in Ukraine since the invasion began at 4 a.m. on Feb. 24.

But the head of the UN’s rights surveillance mission said the death toll is expected to be significantly higher than official data shows.

The European chief of the World Health Organization has also released sobering figures, estimating that at least 3,000 people have died in the country as a result of lack of access to treatments for chronic diseases.

Russia fires barrage of hypersonic missiles at Odessa after celebrating patriotic holiday
Ukrainian soldiers carry an injured comrade on a stretcher to hospital after an attack by Russian forces in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on Monday. (Evgeniy Maloletka/The Associated Press)

So far, the Global Health Service has documented some 200 attacks in Ukraine on healthcare facilities, and few hospitals are currently in operation.

In a speech, Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, said that “40 percent of households have at least one member who needs chronic treatment they can no longer find, resulting in an estimated at least 3,000 premature preventable deaths. “

Fierce Fighting Continues in the East

Heavy fighting is raging in eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian defenders are still being held at a steel factory in the southern port city of Mariupol.

One of the Ukrainian fighters who last took a stand at the steel mill said they were still defending the city.

Russia fires barrage of hypersonic missiles at Odessa after celebrating patriotic holiday
A photo shows an explosion at the Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on Sunday. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Valeri Paditel, chief of border guards in the Donetsk region, said the fighters “did everything they could to make those who defend the city in the future proud”.

The Ukrainian army warned on Tuesday that Russia could target the country’s chemical industry. The claim was not immediately explained in the report, but Russian shelling had previously been aimed at oil depots and other industrial sites during the war.

Grinding war is a slog from village to village

Satellite photos on Monday showed intense fires in Russia-occupied territory in southern Ukraine. The cause of the fires was not immediately clear. However, images from Planet Labs showed thick smoke rising east of Vasylivka, a town flanked by nature reserves.

After unexpected fierce resistance forced the Kremlin to give up its attempt to storm Kiev a month ago, Moscow’s forces have concentrated on capturing the Donbas, Ukraine’s eastern industrial region.

But the fighting there has gone back and forth, village by village. Some analysts suggested Putin would declare the struggle a war and not just a “special military operation,” and order a nationwide mobilization and call on reserves to fight a protracted conflict.

VIEW | Putin justifies invasion of Ukraine during World War II victory celebrations:

Russia fires barrage of hypersonic missiles at Odessa after celebrating patriotic holiday

Putin justifies invasion of Ukraine during World War II victory celebrations

Russian President Vladimir Putin used his country’s holiday to commemorate the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany to justify the invasion of Ukraine. 2:29

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