New airstrikes by Russia on Ukraine early on Friday morning resulted in the deaths of a 10-year-old boy and his grandmother in Kharkiv and damage to the grain and port facilities in the Odesa area in the south, according to Ukrainian officials.
According to the regional governor Oleh Synehubov, the youngster and his grandma perished after Russia struck the second-largest city in Ukraine with two Iskander ballistic missiles. He reported that 28 additional people, including an 11-month-old child, were hurt.
The boy’s father, Oleh Bychko, told Reuters he had managed to pull his younger son and wife out of the rubble after the strike. Bychko, his face scratched and his clothes covered in blood, stood shocked and lost for words after the death of his 10-year-old son, Tymofiy.
The missile attack destroyed much of a residential building, where rescue workers worked among the rubble of bricks, twisted metal and wood.
The attacks followed a Russian missile strike on Thursday in which Ukrainian officials said dozens of people were killed in the village of Hroza in northeastern Ukraine during a gathering to mourn a fallen Ukrainian soldier.
The attack on Hroza was one of the deadliest single strikes on civilians since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the response to what he referred to as “Russian terror” should be Ukraine’s resilience, “our movement, and the daily losses of the occupiers”.
In the latest strikes overnight, Ukrainian air defences shot down 25 of 33 drones launched by Russia from the annexed Crimea peninsular, the air force said in a statement.
The drone strikes targeted Odesa and Mykolaiv regions in the south, Dnipropetrovsk region in the southeast, Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions in the centre and also Kharkiv region in the northeast, the air force said on the Telegram messaging app.
One drone attack damaged a grain silo in the Izmail district of the Odesa region, regional governor Oleh Kiper said. Nine trucks caught fire at the site but the fire was put out quickly.
“The air alert in Odesa lasted for three-and-a-half hours,” Kiper said. “The enemy once again targeted the border and port infrastructure of the Izmail district.”
The Ukrainian military said that operations at an international ferry checkpoint ‘Orlivka’ on the border with Romania were suspended and vehicles were rerouted following the drone attacks.
Russia has intensified attacks on Ukraine’s southern regions, home to Ukrainian Black Sea and river ports, since Moscow quit a grain deal in July that had ensured safe Ukrainian shipments via the Black Sea to help ease a global food crisis.
Ukraine is a major global grain producer and exporter, and says the attacks are intended to prevent it shipping its grain to the world.
Kyiv has mounted a counteroffensive in the south and east to try to oust the Russian forces, but has made only gradual progress in the past four months.