Mar 6, 2024 - World

Russian strike lands near Zelensky and Greek prime minister

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Athens in August 2023.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Athens in August 2023. Photo: Costas Baltas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Russian missile exploded near Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as the two leaders were visiting the Black Sea port city of Odesa on Wednesday, according to the Greek newspaper Protothema.

Why it matters: Members of the Ukrainian and Greek delegations were not harmed, though Zelensky said other victims were killed and wounded from the strike.

Zoom in: An unnamed source told ABC News that the missile landed about 300 feet away from Zelensky and Mitsotakis as they were holding a meeting in the city's port around 10:40 am local time.

  • The source said Zelensky likely wasn't the target of the strike. It said it was likely part of Russia's routine bombing of the city, which has been ongoing throughout Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
  • However, excluding his visits to the frontlines, the source said it was Zelensky's "closest call ever."

What they're saying: Zelensky told reporters that the strike showed what Ukrainians have been dealing with throughout the invasion and demonstrated Ukraine's need for additional air defense systems.

  • Zelensky said Russian officials are either "out of their minds" or "completely out of control," describing the Russian military as a "terrorist army."
  • Mitsotakis said it was "the best reminder that there is a real war going on here," according to Protothema.

The big picture: Throughout the war, Russia has repeatedly hammered the city of Odesa with ballistic missiles and kamikaze drones, which have killed dozens of civilians and wounded several more.

  • The attacks have also damaged parts of Odesa's historic city center, which is a world heritage site protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

What's next: After his Ukraine visit, Mitsotakis is expected to travel to Romania.

  • Nicolae Ionel Ciucă, the president of the Romanian senate, condemned the strike, saying Russia lacked respect for diplomatic immunity.

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