Ukraine apartment block attack leaves 44 dead as Russia fires hypersonic missiles at Odesa

10 May 2022, 15:36

Rescue workers walk past debris in front of the shopping and entertainment center in the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odessa
Rescue workers walk past debris in front of the shopping and entertainment center in the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odessa. Picture: Getty

By Megan Hinton

The bodies of 44 Ukrainian civilians have been discovered under the rubble of a five-story apartment block, official say.

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Oleh Synehuboy, the head of Kharkiv's regional administration said the civilians were inside a residential building that collapsed in Izyum in the Kharkiv region in March, said

"This is another horrible war crime of the Russian occupiers against the civilian population," he said.

It comes as Ukraine's vital Black Sea port of Odesa is being repeatedly bombed by Russian troops who have reportedly deployed hypersonic missiles.

According to the Centre for Defence Strategies, a Ukrainian think tank tracking the war a Russian supersonic bomber fired three hypersonic missiles in recent day.

The centre identified the weapons used as Kinzhal, or "Dagger", which are hypersonic air-to-surface missiles that can fly at five times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,240 miles.

Read more: Ukraine can beat Russian army and even 'break' it, defence secretary insists

Aftermath of Russian rocket strike on Odesa shopping mall
Aftermath of Russian rocket strike on Odesa shopping mall. Picture: Getty

Izyum is an eastern Ukrainian city that Russia has been holding as a key frontline node, but Mr Synehubov did not say specifically where the building was.

Earlier, the Ukrainian military said Russian forces fired seven missiles from the air at Odesa, hitting a shopping centre and a warehouse.

One person was killed and five hurt, the military said.

Using advanced guided missiles allows Russia to fire from aircraft at a distance without being in Ukrainian air space and exposed to potential anti-aircraft fire.

But Ukrainian, British and American officials warn Russia is rapidly expending its stock of precision weapons and may not be able to quickly build more, raising the risk of more imprecise rockets being used as the conflict grinds on.

That could result in more civilian deaths and other collateral damage.

Read more: Limping Putin huddles under a blanket in desperate bid to rally Russia on Victory Day

Intense fighting also raged in Mariupol where Russian forces sought to end the resistance of Ukrainian defenders making their last stand at a steel plant.

One of the Ukrainian fighters holding out at the steel plant said they were still defending the city.

Valeri Paditel, who heads the border guards in the Donetsk region, said the fighters were "doing everything to make those who defend the city in the future proud".

The Ukrainian military warned on Tuesday that Russia could target the country's chemical industries.

The claim was not immediately explained in the report, but Russian shelling has previously targeted oil depots and other industrial sites during the war.

Russia has about 97 battalion tactical groups in Ukraine, largely in the east and the south, a slight increase over last week, according to a senior US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the Pentagon's assessment.

Each unit has roughly 1,000 troops, according to the Pentagon.

The official said that overall, the Russian effort in the Donbas has not achieved any significant progress in recent days and continues to face stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces.