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Russian missile strike decimates civilians in Odesa, 20 dead in deadliest attack yet

Odesa: At least 20 people have been confirmed dead in a devastating Russian missile strike that ravaged the Ukrainian city of Odesa, leaving in its wake a trail of death and destruction, CNN reported.
Scores more have been injured in the attack, marking the deadliest assault on the Black Sea port city since the onset of Russia's full-scale invasion, CNN reported.
The harrowing ordeal unfolded early Friday morning (local time) when a Russian missile, aimed at civilian infrastructure, tore through Odesa's urban fabric. The initial strike caused chaos and carnage, claiming the lives of innocent civilians and injuring many others. However, the horror didn't end there.
In a sinister turn of events, emergency service personnel, rushing to aid the victims, found themselves ensnared in a second strike - a tactic ominously referred to as a "double tap," a cruel hallmark of Russia's tactics in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, according to a CNN report.
"This is the first time a double attack has happened in Odesa region," remarked Maryna Averina, a spokeswoman for the State Emergency Service in Odesa, conveying the shock and disbelief at the unprecedented escalation of violence.
"First responders arrived at the site of the strike and immediately began to extinguish the fire, clearing the rubble and searching for victims. And then there was a second missile strike," Averina recounted, underscoring the ruthlessness of the assailants.
Tragically, the second strike claimed the lives of eight rescuers, including Denys Kolesnikov, a 25-year-old firefighter whose selfless dedication cost him his life.
The strikes occurred against the backdrop of Russia's orchestrated presidential elections, where President Vladimir Putin seeks an extended tenure in power. The timing underscores the callous disregard for human life exhibited by the perpetrators, as reported by CNN.
As the toll of casualties continues to rise, with at least 73 people reported injured, including emergency service personnel, the resilience of Odesa's inhabitants shines through amidst the devastation.
Maria Slisovska, a local resident who witnessed the horror firsthand, recounted the terrifying moments as the missiles struck.
"At first our windows were still intact. Then about five minutes later there was a second blast. The ceilings were damaged... And then there was a strike after the paramedics arrived. The guys were dead. There were people covered in blood. We are now clearing the glass," Slisovska shared, her words painting a vivid picture of the chaos and despair gripping the city.
In a televised address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the strikes as a "despicable act of cowardice," vowing a resolute response against the perpetrators.
"Our Defence Forces will do everything to make Russian killers feel our just response," Zelenskyy declared, his words resonating with a nation reeling from the horrors of war.
Amidst the grief and anguish, condolences poured in from across the globe, with Ukraine's Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko extending sympathies to the bereaved families and Denise Brown, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, condemning the heinous attack.
Odesa, a strategic hub for Ukraine's grain exports and naval operations, has endured relentless assaults in recent months, exacerbating the suffering of its resilient populace.
The brazen attack serves as a stark reminder of the grim reality of war, as world leaders grapple with the escalating crisis in Ukraine. Last week's close call, where a missile struck perilously close to President Zelenskyy and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, underscores the precariousness of the situation.
In the aftermath of the strike, Zelenskyy renewed his plea for international support, emphasising the urgent need for enhanced air defences to protect civilian populations, CNN reported.

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