KIEV: Deadly Russian missile strikes hit southern and eastern Ukraine on Wednesday as Ukrainian air defenses fended off Moscow’s intensified attacks.
Ukraine’s air force said Russia fired four Kalibr missiles at the southern port city of Odessa from a ship in the Black Sea, and air defenses shot down three of them.
One of the missiles hit a food warehouse, killing three employees and wounding seven, Oleg Kipper, head of the military administration for the region, told Telegram.
“Maybe there are people under the rubble,” he added.
He added that six other people were wounded when a commercial center, shops and a residential complex in the city center were damaged “as a result of the air strikes and the blast wave.”
A historic city on the Black Sea, Odessa was once a favourite vacation A destination for many Ukrainians and Russians.
It has been bombed several times since the Russian invasion in February last year.
In January, the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, designated the city’s historic center as a World Heritage Site in Danger.
The head of the Donetsk region’s military administration said Russian missile strikes in the eastern cities of Kramatorsk and Kostyantinivka killed three people and destroyed dozens of homes.
Moscow has stepped up its night attacks on major Ukrainian cities in recent weeks while Kiev has launched a long-awaited counter-offensive to retake territory occupied by Russian forces.
Ukraine said on Wednesday that in the past three days Kiev had recaptured about three square kilometers (about one square mile) of territory and had advanced in some areas 1.4 kilometers deep, while fighting continues near the recaptured villages.
The latest strikes came amid the death toll from Tuesday’s attack on Kryvyi Rij – the president’s hometown. Volodymyr Zelenskyrose up to 12
Authorities in the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, which includes Kryvyi Rig, also reported a new Russian drone attack overnight.
“The three Shahd planes were shot down in the sky,” the region’s governor, Serhiy Lysak, said via Telegram, referring to Iranian drones used by Russia.
While Ukraine says it is making gains after launching its own counterattack, Putin claimed on Tuesday that his forces are inflicting “catastrophic” losses on their opponents.
Putin acknowledged during a meeting in the Kremlin that the Russian forces are suffering from declining stocks of some military equipment, referring in particular to attacking drones and missiles.
Kiev responded quickly, insisting that Ukraine’s push, backed by Western weapons and training, had “certain gains, implementation of our plans, and moving forward.”
According to military analysts, Ukraine has yet to commit the bulk of its forces in its counter-offensive. It is currently still testing the front with probe attacks to identify vulnerabilities.
In recent days, Kiev has claimed to have recaptured a string of villages in the eastern Donetsk region.
“Ukrainian forces continued their offensive counter-operations in at least three directions and made further limited territorial gains on June 13,” the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said in its latest analysis.
UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi was expected to arrive at the Moscow-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant on Wednesday, but Russian news agencies reported that the visit was postponed by a day.
“The mission has been postponed for one day,” the Russian Tass news agency quoted a nuclear official as saying, without giving reasons.
Kiev and the International Atomic Energy Agency have not confirmed the delay.
The safety of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, located in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhia region, has been a concern since it was seized by Russian forces more than a year ago during Moscow’s war with its neighbour.
These concerns were exacerbated by the breach of the Kakhovka Dam, which serves as a reservoir providing cooling water for the plant.
While in Kyiv on Tuesday, Grossi said there was “no immediate situation” but that the water level in the cooling pond was concerning.
Grossi said after meeting Zelensky.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned that the dam disaster – which has killed at least 17 people and left dozens missing – has further complicated an “already precarious nuclear safety and security situation” at the plant.
Kiev accused Moscow of blowing up the dam on the Dnipro River, while Russia accused Ukraine.


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