The Russian defense ministry on Sunday confirmed a strike on an oil refinery and fuel storage facilities in the key Ukrainian port city of Odesa, which has largely been spared the full brunt of Russian assaults since the invasion began in February.
A black plume of smoke was visible over the city Sunday morning, and a fuel depot in the Ukrainian city of Odesa was burning, according to a CNN team on the scene, with one witness telling CNN they heard six explosions at the fuel depot before sunrise.
The Odesa City Council confirmed an air attack on their Telegram account Sunday morning, saying that some Russian missiles were downed by their air defense system and that fire had broken out in some districts.
The coastal city of Odesa has been a place of relative calm during the Russian invasion and a haven for displaced Ukrainians from areas that have seen the worst fighting. But Odesa has been bracing for a Russian attack for weeks, with its city center full of anti-tank barricades to fortify against an invasion.
Here are more of the latest headlines to catch you up on the Russia-Ukraine conflict:
- Bodies discovered in the streets of Bucha: Civilian bodies were found littering the streets of a Ukrainian town northwest of Kyiv following the withdrawal of Russian forces, according to images released by AFP on Saturday – the latest horrifying mark of the mounting civilian toll of Russia’s brutal assault on Ukraine. The Russian withdrawal comes as Moscow attempts to shift its focus to eastern Ukraine and away from the areas around Kyiv, where Russian forces have faced fierce Ukrainian resistance. Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said Saturday that the Kyiv region had been “liberated” from Russian forces. Following the events in Bucha, Ukraine’s foreign minister said Sunday that Russian forces are brutally targeting any Ukrainian citizens they come across. “Bucha massacre was deliberate. Russians aim to eliminate as many Ukrainians as they can,” Kuleba tweeted Sunday. Kuleba posted his tweet alongside the graphic pictures of the bodies released by AFP.
- EU Council president vows fresh sanctions and accuses Russia of committing atrocities in Bucha: European Council President Charles Michel vowed fresh sanctions against Russia on Sunday, after shocking images emerged of 20 civilian corpses sprawled across the ground in the town of Bucha. “Shocked by haunting images of atrocities committed by Russian army in Kyiv liberated region #BuchaMassacre,” Michel wrote on Twitter. “EU is assisting #Ukraine & NGO’s in (the) gathering of necessary evidence for pursuit in international courts. Further EU sanctions & support are on their way.”
- Russian aircraft remain “vulnerable” to Ukrainian defenses: Ukraine continues to present a “significant challenge” to Russian air and missile operations, leaving Russian aircraft vulnerable to short and medium range air defense systems, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense said Sunday. “Russia’s inability to find and destroy air defence systems has seriously hampered their efforts to gain broad control of the air, which in turn has significantly affected their ability to support the advance of their ground forces on a number of fronts,” the ministry wrote in a defense intelligence update posted on Twitter. The ministry also reported a concentration of Russian air activity towards southeastern Ukraine, “likely a result of Russia focusing its military operations in this area,” it said.
- Evacuation attempts from Mariupol to pick up again on Sunday: Attempts to evacuate people from the besieged port city of Mariupol will pick up again on Sunday, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. Vereshchuk said a total of 17 buses will set off from near the southern city of Berdiansk, with a view to evacuating people from Berdiansk and neighboring Mariupol. “10 (buses) to evacuate the people of Mariupol and local residents from Berdiansk … seven buses will try to approach Mariupol accompanied by the Red Cross,” Vereshchuk said in a video posted to social media Sunday.
- Ukraine says Russian forces hold 11 Ukrainian mayors captive and kill one in detention: Russian forces are holding 11 mayors of Ukrainian local areas captive and have killed one mayor in detention, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Sunday. In a message posted to social media, Vereshchuk said that 11 local mayors from Kyiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv and the Donetsk regions “are in Russian captivity.” She added that Ukraine will “inform the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN and other organizations about their captivity.” Vereshchuk said the Ukrainian government learned on Saturday that Olga Sukhenko, the mayor of Motyzhyn — a village in the Kyiv region — was killed in captivity by Russian forces.
- About 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees have crossed the border into Poland so far: The Polish Border Guard says 2.461 million refugees have crossed the Ukrainian border into Poland. More than 4.1 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24, according to the latest figures from the UN. The same data shows that while the vast majority of these refugees have fled to Poland, others have also crossed into neighboring countries in Europe including Romania, Moldova and Hungary. In late March, a senior Biden administration official announced the United States would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia’s aggression.