Russia has stepped up its attacks on the southern port city in recent weeks with a series of deadly drone and missile attacks.

The death toll in a Russian missile attack that hit civilian infrastructure in Ukraine’s Black Sea port city of Odesa on Friday has risen to at least 20 and at least 75 people were wounded, in Moscow’s deadliest attack in weeks, Ukrainian officials said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia would receive a “fair response” from Ukrainian forces for what he said was a “vile” strike on a city that has been attacked by Russian drones or missiles almost every day this month.

Two Iskander-M missiles fired from the Russian-occupied Crimea Peninsula damaged civilian infrastructure and gas and electricity supply lines in the southern city, regional governor Oleh Kiper said on national television on Friday.

Some residents were facing gas and electricity supply cuts as a result of attacks, he added.

“The explosion was very strong, especially the second one … This is a very powerful missile that flies from the occupied Crimea in a few minutes,” Kiper said.

A medic and rescuer were killed by a second missile after rushing to the scene to treat people hurt in the initial attack. Ten people had suffered serious injuries, Kiper added.

“Our Defence Forces will certainly do everything to ensure that the Russian killers feel our fair response,” Zelenskyy said on Telegram.

Residents were rushing to donate blood, creating queues at medical centres. Saturday was declared a local day of mourning.

Twelve people, including five children, were killed in a drone attack on a residential building in Odesa on March 2.

On March 6, Zelenskyy was showing Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis the destruction caused by that attack when Russia hit the city again, killing at least five people.

Rescuers work in a residential area of Odesa hit by a Russian missile [Stringer/Reuters]

Odesa, one of Ukraine’s biggest ports, has long been a target of Russian attacks, especially after Moscow quit a United Nations-brokered deal that had allowed safe passage for Ukrainian grain shipments via the Black Sea.

“The Russian terror in Odesa is a sign of the weakness of the enemy, which is fighting against Ukrainian civilians at a time when it cannot guarantee the safety of people on its own territory,” Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram.

Ukraine has developed and used long-range drones to try to strike back at Russia, stepping up attacks on a string of oil refineries this week in the run-up to Russia’s three-day presidential election, which began on Friday.

Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which it launched in February 2022.

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