Ukraine promised this Sunday “retaliation” for a Russian attack on the city of Odessa, in which two people died and an orthodox cathedral was seriously damaged, while Vladimir Putin assured that the Ukrainian counteroffensive “has failed”. In addition, there were more than 20 affected historical monuments.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported two dead and 22 injuredamong them four minors.
According to the Ukrainian authorities, Russia launched 19 missiles by land, sea and air against this city on the Black Sea, essential for maritime traffic in the area. Nine of those shells were shot down.
“Missiles against peaceful cities, against homes, against a cathedral,” President Volodimir Zelensky said. “there will be retaliation against Russian terrorists for what hpened in Odessa,” he promised.
attack on the cathedral
In the attacks, the Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration, originally built in the 18th century and located in the historic center of Odessa, under UNESCO protection, was bombed.
The priests managed to rescue icons from the rubble inside the damaged building.
“Was a direct attack on the cathedral and three altars were completely damaged,” said Father Miroslav, deputy rector of the temple. According to him, the building is “badly damaged inside,” and “only the bell tower remained intact.”
The temple was demolished under Stalin in 1936 and rebuilt in the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union. Ukraine described the attack as a “war crime” and added that the cathedral “was destroyed twice, by Stalin and by Putin.”
More than 20 historical monuments affected
The Ukrainian authorities denounced that the Russian night attack against Odessa also caused damage not only to the Transfiguration Cathedral but also to 25 architectural monuments from the historic center of the city, a UNESCO world heritage site.
The head of the regional military administration, Oleg Kiper, wrote in a Telegram message that according to preliminary data, “25 architectural monuments were damaged by Russian terrorists overnight in Odessa.”
“The Russians deliberately aimed their missiles at the historic center of Odessa, which is protected by UNESCO.! Everything that was created by great architects with hard work is now being destroyed by cynical monsters!” he lamented.
He specified that among the damaged monuments are buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Russia blamed what hpened in the cathedral to kyiv air defensesand affirmed on the other hand to have achieved all the objectives set in Odessa.
The Russian army said it had attacked overnight “facilities where terrorist acts against the Russian Federation were being prepared.”
But according to the neighbors, the targets were residential buildings.
“Here what we have are houses”; “Nothing military,” Tetiana, a woman who runs a beauty salon, told the AFP agency.
Odessa has been rrepeatedly bombed since Russia withdrew a week ago from the year-long deal that allowed Ukrainian grain to be exported across the Black Sea.
Russia claimed that its demand that the barriers to its exports of food and fertilizers be lifted had not been met, and warned that after this there would be no more “security guarantees” in the Black Sea.
The attack came hours before a meeting in St. Petersburg between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart and ally Alexander Lukashenko.
The meeting, which will finally last two days, is the first between the two leaders since Belarus mediated to put an end to the mutiny of the Wagner group mercenaries in Russia four weeks ago.
At the beginning of the meeting, at the Konstantinovsky Palace, the Russian president asserted that the Ukrainian counteroffensive launched at the beginning of June to try to recover the land invaded by Moscow in the south and east “has failed.”
The Belarusian referred in turn to the Wagner group, which he now houses in his territory after the agreement that ended the rebellion on June 24, the greatest challenge to Putin’s power according to many analysts.
And he threw a dart into neighboring Poland, anxious to have Wagner’s men at the gates of its border.
“They ask to go west, and they ask me for permission (…) to go on a trip to Warsaw, to Rzeszow,” on Polish territory, Lukashenko told Putin, who responded with a smile. “But of course, I keep them in the center of Belarus, as we agreed,” added the Belarusian leader.
“We control what is hpening,” he insisted.
With information from EFE and AFP