Russian missile attack on Odessa kills one and damages cathedral

Russian missile attack on Odessa kills one and damages cathedral – Al Jazeera English

According to Ukrainian officials, an airstrike injured 19 people, including several children, and severely damaged Odessa’s largest cathedral.

A Russian missile attack on the Ukrainian port city of Odessa has killed at least one person, injured 19 and severely damaged an Orthodox cathedral, officials said.

Oleg Kiper, the governor of Odessa, told news app Telegram that several children were injured in Sunday’s airstrike.

“Odesa, another night attack by the monsters,” he said.

“Fourteen people were hospitalized at the city’s hospitals, three of whom were children,” he said.

The attack also destroyed six houses and apartment buildings, he added.

Russia has bombed Odessa and other Ukrainian food export facilities almost daily for the past week after withdrawing from a United Nations-brokered sea corridor deal that allowed Ukrainian grain to be safely transported.

The Ukrainian Air Force said in Telegram on Sunday that Russia fired high-precision Onyx missiles and Kalibr sea-land cruise missiles at Odessa.

The city’s military administration said air defense systems destroyed a “significant proportion” of the missiles, including Iskander ballistic missiles.

It added that the Spaso Preobrazhenskyi Cathedral of the Moscow-affiliated Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) was badly damaged.

“The Kasperovska icon of the Mother of God, the patron saint of Odessa, was pulled out from under the rubble,” the administration said on its Telegram channel.

The Spaso-Preobrazhenskyi Cathedral or Transfiguration Cathedral is Odessa’s largest Orthodox church building. It was consecrated in 1809.

Photos and video released by Odessa officials and the police showed destroyed parts of the building and debris inside, as well as several symbols lined up on the ground.

In one video, a distraught man is seen entering the dark cathedral and repeating, “The Church is no more…Lord have mercy.”

Al Jazeera was not able to immediately verify the videos or damage reports.

The UOC is Ukraine’s second-largest church, although most Ukrainian Orthodox believers belong to a separate branch of the faith established four years ago by the union of branches independent of Russian authority.

Ukraine has accused UOC of having ties to the Russian Orthodox Church, which supports the invasion, which used to be its mother church but with which UOC says it broke ties in May last year.

There was no immediate comment from Russia.

Russia had described its recent attacks as revenge for a Ukrainian attack on a Russian-built bridge to Crimea – Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula that Russia captured in 2014.

She accused Ukraine of using the sea corridor for “terrorist attacks”.