Five killed in Russian missile attack on Ukraine’s ‘Harry Potter castle’

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Ukraine reported 5 deaths and 30+ injuries from a Russian missile strike on ‘Harry Potter castle’ in Odesa.

UKRAINE, May 1: Ukrainian authorities reported at least five fatalities and over 30 injuries resulting from a Russian missile strike on the Black Sea port city of Odesa on Monday. Dramatic video footage, released by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, depicted the harrowing scene as dozens of bomblets exploded in rapid succession near the seafront.

The attack inflicted significant damage, with flames engulfing the distinctive cone-shaped towers and roof of an educational institution colloquially referred to as the “Harry Potter castle” due to its architectural resemblance to a Scottish baronial pile.

According to Ukrainian officials, the assault utilized an Iskander ballistic missile and cluster munitions, raising concerns about the deliberate targeting of civilian areas. Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin revealed that metal fragments and missile debris were found within a 1.5 km radius of the attack site, underscoring the severity of the onslaught. Among the wounded were two children and a pregnant woman.

Nearly 20 residential buildings and vital infrastructure facilities bore the brunt of the strike, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the region. The use of cluster munitions, prohibited under international law by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, has drawn condemnation from global observers. Notably, neither Russia nor Ukraine nor the United States, a key supplier of military aid to Ukraine, have ratified the convention.

In response to the attack, Russian officials claimed that air defenses in Crimea successfully intercepted a major missile and drone assault orchestrated by Ukraine. Sergey Aksyonov, the Kremlin-appointed leader of occupied Crimea, issued warnings regarding the potential danger posed by unexploded ordnance. Meanwhile, Russian military bloggers suggested that the targets of the attack were airfields, although Ukraine has yet to confirm these assertions.

The vital bridge connecting Crimea to Russia was temporarily closed following the assault, disrupting supply routes for Russia’s ongoing military operations. Russian authorities asserted that the attack primarily involved six US-supplied Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), all of which were purportedly neutralized by Russian air defenses.

Despite conflicting narratives, one notable aspect of the incident was the scarcity of video and photographic evidence, leading to speculation about the circumstances surrounding the attack and the broader conflict dynamics in the region.

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