A missile fired by a “strategic aircraft” from the Black Sea left “14 dead and 30 injured, including three children”, according to the latest report from the Ukrainian emergency services.
Another missile, fired by the same plane, hit two other buildings nearby, killing “three people, including a child”, added the rescuers.
Rescue operations, complicated by a fire, are continuing.
The first strike “hit a nine-storey residential building in the Bilgorod-Dniester region”, about 80 km south of Odessa, according to Odessa region administration spokesman Sergii Brachuk .
The spokesperson attacked Internet users who report on social networks the movements of troops and emergency services.
“A rescue operation is underway, do not write where, who and how!” so as not to endanger the military, he told local television, without specifying the exact location of the strike.
– NATO’s unwavering support –
This strike came as NATO pledged its unwavering support to Ukraine by closing its summit in Madrid on Thursday.
“We will stand with Ukraine and the entire Alliance will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes to ensure it is not defeated by Russia,” Biden said.
“I don’t know how or when this will end,” added the American president, affirming however: “It will not end with a defeat for Ukraine”.
Several NATO member states have announced new military aid to Ukraine: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged an extension of one billion pounds (1.16 billion euros), Joe Biden on $800 million more.
For his part, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, has planned the revision of his country’s military programming, stressing that “we must now, entering a period of war, know how to produce certain types of equipment faster, stronger” .
Moscow retorted through the voice of its Minister for Foreign Affairs: “The iron curtain, in fact, is already coming down”, he said, taking up this image born with the Cold War and which was quickly fell into disuse after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
He was reacting to the strategic roadmap that the Atlantic Alliance had just adopted and which now designates Russia as being “the most significant and direct threat to the security of the allies”. And this, while denouncing the attempts of Moscow and Beijing to unite their efforts to “destabilize the international order”.
– The Russians leave Serpents’ Island –
On the front, Ukraine welcomed the departure of Russian forces from Serpents’ Island, which they had taken in the early hours of their offensive, a highly symbolic victory for kyiv.
Moscow claimed to withdraw its troops “as a sign of goodwill”, its objectives having been “achieved” and to facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain from Ukraine through the Black Sea.
This militarized islet is located southwest of Odessa, the largest Ukrainian port where millions of tons of grain have been collected, and facing the mouth of the Danube.
The version of the Ukrainian military is radically different: the Russians abandoned Serpents’ Island because they found themselves “unable to withstand the fire of our artillery, our missiles and our air strikes”.
“The enemy fled in two speedboats”, leaving “on fire” this islet where “explosions are still heard”, they said again, specifying that they were now going to restore “direct physical control” there. .
“The Russians themselves, during their retreat, blew up ‘their own military equipment’ and lost a helicopter at sea,” the Ukrainian military said.
“Serpents Island is a strategic point and this considerably changes the situation in the Black Sea (…). This does not yet guarantee that the enemy will not return. But it already considerably limits the actions of the occupants”, has hammered in the evening President Voldymyr Zelensky.
On the other hand, the president admitted that the situation remained “extremely difficult” in Lyssytchansk, a city in the industrial basin of Donbass, a region in eastern Ukraine where most of the fighting is concentrated.
Lyssytchansk is the last major city not yet in Russian hands in the Lugansk region, one of the two provinces of Donbass, which Moscow intends to fully control.
In Kherson, in the south, Ukrainian helicopters struck “a concentration of enemy troops and military equipment” near the town of Bilozerka, the Ukrainian army said on Friday.
This attack left “35 dead” among Russian soldiers and destroyed two tanks and several other armored vehicles, according to the same source.
– kyiv exports electricity to the EU –
On the energy front, Ukraine has announced that it has started to export electricity in a “significant” way to the European Union, via Romania.
“An important step in our rapprochement with the European Union was taken” on Thursday, declared the President of Ukraine, whose candidacy for the EU was endorsed last week by the Twenty-Seven.
kyiv “has started to significantly export electricity to EU territory, to Romania”, he said in a video address, and “this is only a first step”.
“We are preparing to increase deliveries,” he added, stressing that “Ukrainian electricity can replace a considerable part of the Russian gas consumed by Europeans.
“It’s not just a question of export revenues for us, it’s a question of security for the whole of Europe,” he insisted.
The Ukrainian electricity network had been connected to the European network in mid-March, which should help the country to preserve its functioning despite the war.
Ukraine was synchronized with the Russian power grid until its invasion on February 24 and then operated autonomously.
“From today, Ukraine can export electricity to the EU market,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted on Thursday.
“It will bring an additional source of electricity for the EU. And much-needed income for Ukraine. So we are both winners,” she argued.