Russian forces strike Ukrainian port cities Mariupol and Odessa
Ukrainian officials said Russian forces killed at least eight people in missile strikes on the Black Sea port city of Odessa on Saturday, including a 3-month-old baby.
Between the lines: If Putin’s forces were to take the port city of Odessa, it would effectively cut Ukraine off from the Black Sea. Sea freight accounts for 70% of all Ukraine’s imports and exports, with Odessa handling about 65%, according to Al Jazeera.
- Russian forces said on Saturday that they had seized several villages in the eastern region of Donbass. If they were to take over Ukraine’s eastern and southeastern port city of Mariupol, it would create a land corridor to Crimea, which it annexed into Ukraine in 2014.
The big picture: Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, tweeted that Russian rockets hit a military installation and two residential buildings in Odessa, killing the baby and others in the city on the eve of Eastern Orthodox Passover.
- President Volodymyr Zelensky during a briefing on Saturday: “The war started when this baby was a month old. Can you even imagine what is happening? They are just bastards. Just bastards. I have no d other words to use in this context.”
- In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, three people were killed and several others injured in Russian military shelling of residential areas over the weekend, said Oleh Syniehubov, head of the regional military administration. from Kharkiv, in a message from Telegram.
Meanwhile, a new attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol was “thwarted” by Russian forces on Saturday, said Petro Andriushchenko, assistant to the mayor of Mariupol.
- “Instead of the buses promised by the Russian side, the Russian army approached the residents of Mariupol and ordered them to disperse because ‘now there will be shelling,'” Andriushchenko wrote on Telegram.
- Ukrainian officials said earlier on Saturday that Russian forces had resumed air and ground attacks on the steel plant which is Ukraine’s last stronghold in Mariupol and a shelter for some 1,000 civilians.
For memory : The commander of the Ukrainian forces at the plant vowed not to surrender.
Rollback: Putin orders Russian forces not to storm Mariupol
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with comments from Andriushchenko and Syniehubovand to reflect the Ukrainian authorities’ announcement of the revised death toll in Odessa from six to eight.