UNESCO sides with Ukraine against Russia in ‘borscht war’

At least 20 people were killed, including two children, in Russian missile attacks on a village near the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, authorities said, a day after the withdrawal of invading Russian forces from a strategic Black Sea island.

Video of the pre-dawn attack showed the charred remains of buildings in the small town of Serhiyivka, located about 50 kilometers southwest of Odessa. According to Ukrainian reports, missiles hit a multi-storey building and a recreation center.

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“A terrorist country is killing our people. In response to defeats on the battlefield, they fight civilians,” said Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. said on Twitter.

Ukrainian emergency officials said 20 people died, including two children. 38 others were injured, including three children.

Sixteen of the 20 victims died in the attack on the building. The other four died at a recreation center, Ukrainian emergency officials said.

The airstrikes followed the withdrawal of Russian forces from Snake Island on June 30, a move that was expected to potentially lessen the threat to nearby Odessa. The island lies along a busy shipping lane.

The Kremlin described the removal from Snake Island as a “goodwill gesture”. The Ukrainian army called for a barrage from its artillery and missiles forced the Russians to flee in two small speedboats. The exact number of troops withdrawing has not been disclosed.

Control of Snake Island, located about 40 kilometers from the Ukrainian coast near the Danube Delta, had allowed Russia to threaten the sea lanes leading to Odessa, the main Ukrainian port for shipping grain to the world.

The attacks in the Odessa region come in the 19th week since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the full-scale invasion, with Russian forces otherwise focusing on what Ukrainians call a ‘huge’ bombardment of the last major city ​​that resists in the east, Lysychansk, and the bombardment of civilian settlements in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

It also follows an attack earlier this week at a crowded shopping center in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, which left at least 18 people dead and dozens missing. Ukrainian officials called the mall attack a “terrorist” act, while Moscow denied responsibility.

WATCH: Survivors of the Russian missile attack on the Amstor shopping mall in Kremenchuk on June 27 describe pulling themselves out of the rubble, being helped by strangers and nearly dying by pure chance.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced on July 30 that Ukrainian troops had expelled Russian forces and recaptured Snake Island in a development he said severely limits Russian actions.

Control of Snake Island, located about 40 kilometers from the Ukrainian coast near the Danube Delta, had allowed Russia to threaten the sea lanes leading to Odessa, the main Ukrainian port for shipping grain to the world.

The head of the military administration of the Luhansk region in the east, Serhiy Hayday, said that Lysychansk “is constantly bombarded by large [gun] calibers” by Russian forces attempting to encircle the strategic hilltop city – a key battleground in Moscow’s bid to capture Ukraine’s industrial heartland of Donbass.

After weeks of fighting that killed hundreds of civilians and turned the city to rubble, Moscow has taken control of the neighboring town of Syevyerodonetsk and is now setting its sights on Lysychansk.

Ukraine’s Western allies sent arms to Ukraine, and on June 30 the United States said it would provide an additional $800 million in arms and military aid.

Speaking after a NATO summit in Madrid, US President Joe Biden said the war would not end with Russia’s victory over Ukraine, adding: “We will support Ukraine as long as ‘it will have to’.

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