Baby among 8 dead in Russian missile strikes on Odessa, Ukraine says
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 cargo makes up 70% of all of Ukraine's imports and exports, with Odessa processing about 65% of this, per Al Jazeera.
- Russian forces claimed Saturday they had seized several villages in the eastern Donbas region. If they were to gain control of Ukraine's east and southeastern port city Mariupol it would create a land corridor to Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The big picture: Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, tweeted that Russian rockets had struck a military facility and two residential buildings in Odessa, killing the baby and others in the city on the eve of the Eastern Orthodox Easter.
- President Volodymyr Zelensky at a briefing Saturday, "The war started when this baby was one month old. Can you even imagine what is happening? They are just bastards. Just bastards. I don't have any other words to use in this context."
- In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, three people were killed and several others wounded during Russian military shelling of residential areas over the weekend, said Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional military administration, in a Telegram post.
Meanwhile, a fresh attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol was "thwarted" by Russian forces on Saturday, said Petro Andriushchenko, an aide to Mariupol's mayor.
- "Instead of the buses promised by the Russian side, the Russian military approached the Mariupol residents and ordered them to disperse because 'there will be shelling now,'" Andriushchenko wrote on Telegram.
- Ukrainian officials said earlier Saturday that Russian forces had resumed air and ground attacks on the steel plant that's Ukraine's final stronghold in Mariupol and a shelter for some 1,000 civilians.
For the record: The commander of Ukrainian forces at the plant has vowed not to surrender.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Andriushchenko and Syniehubov, and to reflect Ukrainian officials' announcement of the revised death toll in Odessa, from six to eight.