Officials of the Ukrainian government said on Friday, 1 July, that at least 18 people were killed by two Russian missiles that struck a multi-storey apartment and a recreation center in Odesa, located in the southern part of the country.
Two of the deceased are children.
Ukraine’s state emergency services (SES) stated that as of 6am, at least 30 people were injured in the attack.
Independent news media outlets could not immediately confirm these numbers.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised his forces for a victory over Russian forces that were occupying Snake Island, a strategic Black Sea island close to Odesa.
"Zmiinyi Island is a strategic point, and it significantly changes the situation in the Black Sea. It does not guarantee safety yet, it does not yet guarantee that the enemy will not return. But it already limits the actions of the occupiers significantly. Step by step, we will drive them out of our sea, our land, and our sky," he was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
NATO: Biden's Promise and Turkey's Warning
US Joe Biden, addressing reporters on Thursday in Madrid where he was attending the NATO summit, declared that the US and Nato allies will stand by Ukraine for "as long as it takes".
"We're gonna stick with Ukraine, and all of the allies will stick with Ukraine, as long as it takes, and in fact make sure they are not defeated," he asserted.
On the other hand, after successfully resolving a diplomatic dispute with Sweden and Finland that will fast-track their incorporation into NATO, Turkey has warned that it will still block the induction if both countries failed to fully meet the expectations of the trilateral memorandum signed earlier this week.
"This business will not work if we don't pass this in our parliament. First, Sweden and Finland must fulfil their duties and those are already in the text … But if they don’t fulfil these, then of course there is no way we would send it to our parliament," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was quoted as saying by AFP.
(With inputs from Reuters, AFP, and The Guardian.)