Russian missiles pounded Ukraine's Black Sea port city of Odesa on Friday, killing more than a dozen people including rescue workers in an attack President Volodymyr Zelensky described as "vile".

Local authorities said Russian aerial bombardments struck residential buildings, ambulances and a gas pipeline, leaving at least 21 people dead and wounding another 73 people, including rescuers. 

Zelensky said Russian forces had launched a type of attack known as a double-tap strike on the port hub, with the second projectile ploughing into rescue workers at the scene.

City officials said Moscow targeted Odesa with Iskander missiles launched from the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014.

"Russian terror in Odesa is a sign of weakness of the enemy, which is fighting Ukrainian civilians at a time when it cannot guarantee security for people on its own territory," said presidential aide Andriy Yermak.


“Among the victims and victims are local residents, doctors, and (emergency workers). The second shooting happened when emergency services provided assistance to the victims of the first strike,” Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin wrote in a post on Facebook, Saying that it was the latest information as of 5 p.m. Friday.

Many of the wounded are emergency workers attending the scene of the first explosion, a deliberate attack strategy often used by Moscow’s forces known as a “double-tap.”

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“Unfortunately, a paramedic and an employee of the State Emergency Service who arrived to provide assistance after the first explosion were killed as a result of the Russian missile attack,” the regional governor, Oleh Kiper, said on social media earlier

Among thosse dead there are also three top police officials who came to the scene among the first responders: Alexander Gostishchev, former deputy State Police Administration of Odesa Region and commander of the Tsunami battalion;


Sergiy Tetyukhin, former deputy mayor of Odesa, who left the Mayor’s office to enlist in November 2023; and Dmitro Abramenko, deputy head of the GUNP, head of the department of preventive activities in the Odesa region.

“Currently, efforts are underway to extinguish the fire affecting the gas pipeline and a private house, covering a total area of approximately 120 meters squared,” the State Emergency Service of Ukraine reported.

 Fifty rescuers and eight pieces of equipment from the State Emergency Service are operating at the site.”

At around 11 a.m., the air alert kicked off in Odesa, and shortly after, the first explosions were heard in the city. 

The Ukrainian Air Forces have alerted about Iskander-type ballistic missiles heading towards Odesa, posing a threat to the southern regions.

Amidst the aftermath, residents rallied to donate blood, leading to long queues at medical facilities. A local day of mourning was declared for Saturday.

Odesa, a vital Ukrainian port, has been a prime target for Russian assaults, particularly following Moscow's withdrawal from a UN-mediated agreement allowing safe passage for Ukrainian grain shipments via the Black Sea.


Despite Moscow's denial of targeting civilians, numerous civilian casualties have been reported due to frequent Russian airstrikes across Ukraine.

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