Zarina Zabrisky visits the site of a high-rise residential building in Odesa shelled by Russian forces on Orthodox Easter Saturday

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Gennadiy Trukhanov, Mayor of Odesa, laid flowers at the site of a high-rise residential building, shelled by Russian forces, in Odesa on Orthodox Easter Saturday.

“The Russian aggressor hit the residential building with the rocket when people were getting ready to celebrate [Orthodox] Easter,” he told Byline Times. “Unfortunately, eight civilians were killed, among them a three-month-old girl who didn’t get to see or to know this world. There are over 18 wounded. This is a hard blow to Odesa and humankind.

“The war methods used by Russia are inhumane, beastly. This is a war of conquest. There is no ‘liberation’ mission here. It is all lies. This is a cynical, cruel war against Ukraine, against the whole civilized world.”

Photos: Zarina Zabrisky

The Mayor said that the building shelled was not a “military object” and that there “are no military objects in the vicinity” – but “this is how they are trying to frame it”.

“We have opened all basements, all parking lots, and any journalist, any expert can verify that there are no military objects and no warehouses in the vicinity,” he said. “We are mourning all victims but especially the little girl.” 

When asked what the international community can do to help, Trukhanov said that one of the most important things is that “the world sees the truth.” He also noted that Ukraine needs weapons.

Liev, a young musician, who was taking a bath two apartments away, said that a powerful explosion shook the walls and that the water stopped abruptly.

Photo: Zarina Zabrisky

“I looked outside: Apocalypse,” he told Byline Times. “Everything was covered in ashes. We took the most valuable thing  –  my guitar  –  kicked out the door to the balcony, and climbed down from the fourth floor to the ground.” 

Irina was a friend of Valeria Goldan, a 28-year-old journalist killed by the explosion. Irina was outside downtown, enjoying a beautiful spring day, when she saw two rockets in flight. “Then, I saw the news and saw Lera’s photograph, she said. “She loved to read, had so many plans.”

Valeria’s mother and her three-month-old baby Kyra were also among the casualties. Her husband Yuri went to the store and came back to find his entire family gone: only the cat Filya, who got stuck between the couch cushions, had survived.

Photo: Zarina Zabrisky

In her last post on Instagram, Valeria wrote: “Putin kills Ukrainians by ballistic rockets. Russians kill us. Civilians and children are dying today! Hear us! His soldiers are shelling civilians from Grad, hitting residential areas, orphanages, and maternity hospitals in Ukraine with ballistic and hydrogen missiles! Putin is mad and threatens a nuclear missile. Help Ukraine  –  help yourself!” 

Another rocket hit one of Odesa’s cemeteries, Tairovskoe. The explosion destroyed more than 1000 square metres. A woman, visiting a grave on the day before the major Orthodox holiday, was hospitalised in a serious condition. The fragments of the rocket damaged crosses, decorated with Easter flowers and messages, as well as the graves of the Soviet Army soldiers. 

“Is this also ‘de-Nazification’? The occupiers, apparently, are afraid even of the dead,” the Mayor observed.

Photo: Zarina Zabrisky

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