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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accuses Russia of “terror” in missile attack that killed 21

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Ukraine War: Ukraine claimed that 3 Russian missiles hit a regular 9-storey apartment building.

Kyiv:

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday accused Russia of engaging in the state’s “terror” as he blamed Moscow for missile attacks on a southern resort town that killed 21 and injured dozens.

The missiles hit an apartment building and an entertainment center in the town of Sergievka, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Odessa’s Black Sea port, which has now become a strategic flashpoint in the more than four-month-old war.

The attacks came a day after Moscow abandoned positions on a strategic island in a major setback for the Kremlin’s invasion.

The dead included a 12-year-old boy, Zelensky said in his daily address to the nation, adding that some 40 people were injured and the death toll could rise.

“I emphasize: this is a deliberate, purposeful act of Russian terror – and not some sort of mistake or accidental missile attack,” Zelensky said.

“Three missiles hit a regular nine-story apartment building, which was hiding no weapons, no military equipment,” he said. “Regular people, citizens, lived there.”

Odessa district deputy chief Sergei Brachuk said on Ukrainian television that the attacks were launched by planes flying over the Black Sea and fired “very heavy and very powerful” missiles.

– ‘inhuman’ –

Germany swiftly condemned the violence.

German government spokesman Stefan Hebstreit said: “The brutal manner in which the Russian attacker extorts civilian deaths and again speaks of collateral damage is inhumane and blasphemous.”

The attacks follow global outrage earlier this week when Russia’s attack destroyed a shopping center in central Ukraine’s Kremenchuk, killing at least 18 civilians.

President Vladimir Putin has denied that his military was responsible for that attack and Moscow did not immediately comment on the Odessa attacks.

On Friday, Zelensky hailed a new chapter in its relationship with the European Union, with Brussels recently rated Ukraine’s candidate in Kyiv’s push to join the 27-member bloc, even though membership is years away. .

“Our journey to membership should not take decades. We must bring it down quickly,” Zelensky told Ukraine’s parliament.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, addressing Ukrainian lawmakers by video link, said membership was “within reach”, but urged them to work on anti-corruption reforms.

Norway, which is not a member of the European Union, on Friday announced $1 billion in aid for Kyiv, including reconstruction and weapons.

And the Pentagon said it is sending a new $820 million armament package, which includes two air defense systems and more ammunition for the Hymer precision rocket launcher, which the United States began supplying last month.

– ‘Borsch War’ –

In a decision that quickly escalated tensions between Kyiv and Moscow, the UN cultural agency inscribed the tradition of cooking borscht soup on a list of Ukraine’s endangered cultural heritage.

Ukraine regards the nutritious soup, usually made with beetroot, as a national dish, although it is also widely consumed in Russia, other ex-Soviet countries, and Poland.

UNESCO said the decision was approved after a fast-track process inspired by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We will win both in Borsch and in this war,” Ukraine’s Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said on Telegram.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova quipped: “Hummus and pilaf are recognized as national dishes of many countries. Everything is subject to Ukrainianization.”

– phosphorus bomb –

On Thursday, Russian troops abandoned their positions on Snake Island, which had become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance in the first days of the war, and severed shipping lanes near the port of Odessa.

The Russian Defense Ministry described the retreat as “a gesture of goodwill”, which meant that Moscow would not interfere with UN efforts to organize protected grain exports from Ukraine.

But on Friday evening, Kyiv accused Moscow of using incendiary phosphorus weapons to attack the rocky outpost, saying the Russians are “incapable of even honoring their own declarations”.

In peacetime, Ukraine is a major agricultural exporter, but Russia’s invasion has damaged agricultural lands and seen Ukraine’s ports confiscated, demolished or blocked – especially concerns about food shortages in poorer countries.

Western powers have accused Putin of using the cropped crop as a weapon to increase pressure on the international community, and Russia has been accused of stealing grain.

Ukraine on Friday asked Turkey to detain a Russian-flagged cargo ship, which Kyiv alleged had sailed from the Kremlin-held port of Bardyansk.

While heavy fighting continued in eastern Ukraine, officials said schools in the Ukrainian capital would reopen for in-person classes on September 1 at the start of the school year for the first time since lessons went online after the invasion began.

The head of Kyiv’s Department of Education and Science, Olena Fidayan, said explosives would be checked in areas adjacent to schools and that school bomb shelters would be restored with the necessary supplies.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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