Russian Federation (RF) air forces launched at least three more massive Kh-22 anti-ship missiles at ground targets in Ukraine’s southern Odesa Region on Friday, July 1, hitting an apartment building and a seaside resort, and killing at least 19 civilians, Serhiy Bratchuk, the head of the Odesa regional defense command, said in a July 1 statement.
Ukraine Joint Command South (JCS) said Russian Tu-22 bombers flying over the Black Sea launched the Kh-22 weapons in the early morning hours. The massive three-ton missiles struck in the vicinity of the resort village of Serhiyivka between one and two in the morning, the UNIAN news agency reported.
Images from the scene showed a nine-storey apartment building with most of its windows blasted out and lower storeys badly burned or in rubble. According to social media reports between 150 and 160 people lived in the building.
Most were likely asleep in their homes at the time of the attack, news reports said.
At least was one child was killed and 30 civilians injured, including four children and a pregnant woman, Bratchuk said.
Emergency response teams were excavating debris and the casualty count was likely to rise, an Odesa Region police statement said.
The deadly strike on Serhiyivka came just days after a single Kh-22 missile slammed into a shopping center in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 50.
That afternoon blast, coming at the height of the shopping day, was thoroughly documented by individual accounts, social media posts, independent Ukrainian news reports, international journalists on the scene, and official Ukrainian statements.
Kremlin spokesmen claimed Kyiv faked the reports and that the Kremenchuk attack never happened.
The Kh-22 is a now-obsolete weapon designed by the Soviet Union in the 1950s to hit a large-scale maritime target like an aircraft carrier task group with a nuclear device. Most military analysts consider the missile to be highly inaccurate by modern standards, and unlikely to hit closer than 500 meters of its intended target.
In recent weeks as the RF ground forces have slowed or even come to a halt in the Moscow offensive to capture the Donbas region, the Kremlin has stepped up its long-range missile attacks against targets elsewhere in Ukraine, often hitting civilian homes and infrastructure.
Since Saturday, June 25, RF more than 150 RF weapons have struck across Ukraine, hitting overwhelmingly civilian homes and businesses, according to Army Chief of Staff (ACS) counts.
Oleksiy Arestovych, an advisor to Ukraine’s Presidential Administration, in Friday morning Facebook comment on the Serhiyivka strikes said: “This is the kind of f*ckers we have to fight against. Well, you can wait for our answer, you b*stards. And you won’t have to wait long.”
Ukrainian naval and ground forces on Wednesday and Thursday used long-range artillery and observation drones to demolish RF air defense, artillery and fuel facilities on the strategic island Zmiyny (Russian: Zmeyny), forcing Kremlin forces to evacuate the island.
A Kremlin spokesman subsequently claimed Russia pulled it troops and equipment off the island “as an act of goodwill.”
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