The runway at the main airport in Ukraine’s Odesa has been destroyed in a Russian missile attack, officials said, as Ukrainian forces in the east of the country fought village by village to hold back Moscow’s advance.
In a late-night video address on Saturday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the newly constructed runway in the strategic Black Sea port had been knocked out, but pledged to rebuild it.
“We will, of course, rebuild it. But Odesa will never forget Russia’s behaviour towards it,” he said.
Regional officials said the missile was launched from the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula and said the airport could no longer be used.
Maksym Marchenko, the governor of Odesa region, said Russian forces had used a Bastion missile in the attack.
“Thank God, no one was hurt. Anti-sabotage measures are being carried out in the region,” he said in a video posted online.
Gennadiy Trukhanov, the mayor of Odesa city, said it had taken 10 years to design and build the new runway, which was formally opened last July.
“Thanks to the new runway we were expecting a colossal influx of tourists from all over the world. Instead, we got a rocket strike,” he said on Facebook.“But Odesa is not a city which surrenders to difficulties. We will absolutely restore the runway after our victory and even more tourists will come to us.”There was no comment on the attack from Moscow, whose forces have sporadically targeted Odesa, Ukraine’s third-largest city.
Eight people were killed in a Russian attack on the city last week, Ukrainian officials said.
Russia has turned its focus to Ukraine’s south and east after failing to capture the capital, Kyiv, in a nine-week offensive that has flattened cities, killed thousands of civilians and forced more than five million to flee abroad.