A Ukrainian mother and her three-month-old baby killed when a Russian missile hit a residential tower block in Odesa on Saturday have been identified.
Videos from Odesa yesterday showed the attack, with a huge ball of fire and smoke erupting from the building as it was struck by a flying object. At least eight people are believed to have been killed, and a further 18 injured.
Valeria Hlodan and little Kira (3 months). Missiles over Odessa destroy a family. Before the war, like millions of mothers around the world, Valeria had told about her joy for Kira’s birth on social media. When the little girl was born in Odessa three months ago, the conflict that is ravaging Ukraine had not yet upset the daily life of a family that no longer exists.
The strike came a day before both Russia and Ukraine marked Orthodox Easter, with pictures showing president Vladimir Putin on Sunday attending a service at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Many Ukrainians and Russians celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar, with Easter Sunday falling this year on April 24.
The attack sparked outrage in Ukraine at Putin over the missile strike on the coastal city, which hit the family’s residential block while supposedly targeting a military target using a Tu-95 strategic bomber flying over the Caspian Sea, according to reports.
In his customary nightly address to the nation, an emotional Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to find and punish those responsible for the missile strike.
‘The war started when this baby was 1 month old. Can you imagine what is happening?’ Zelensky said. ‘They are just bastards. I don’t have any other words for it, just bastards.’
Zelensky urged Ukrainians to observe a curfew and not attend Orthodox Easter services overnight. The lengthy services traditionally begin late Saturday and run through Sunday morning. ‘But starting from 5 a.m. you may go to the church in your city, town or community,’ he said.
On the attack and the Russian invasion, which today entered its third month, Zelensky said: ‘The world has not seen such barbarism in 80 years.’ Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermark said: ‘Nothing is sacred…. The evil will be punished.’