The mayor of Odesa, Gennadiy Trukhanov, said eight civilians were killed and eighteen wounded in Russian airstrikes on the southern city. Another official denounced the attacks on Odesa as “Easter gifts from Putin”, CNN reported. 

Andriy Yermak, the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said in a statement, “Five Ukrainian citizens were killed and 18 wounded”, adding, “These are only those who were found. And most likely, there will be more.” 

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also slammed the attacks in the Black Sea port city, saying, “The only aim of Russian missile strikes on Odesa is terror. Russia must be designated a state sponsor of terrorism and treated accordingly. No business, no contacts, no cultural projects. We need a wall between civilization and barbarians striking peaceful cities with missiles.”

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The attacks on Odesa come at a time when Russia is also making a push in the south, about to capture the Azov Sea port city of Mariupol. While Russian President Vladimir Putin claims to have liberated the city, a last unit of resistance is caught up in the Azovstal steel plant. Russia reportedly launched an attack on the plant today, while Ukraine has made it clear that talks with Moscow will cease if the last of its soldiers in Mariupol are not let go. 

If Russia succeeds in capturing Mariupol, which seems increasingly likely, Moscow would be able to establish territorial continuity from Donbas to Crimea, through this port city. A Russian military general said with the corridor, Moscow can access Transnistria, a separatist Moldova statelet. 

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Apart from the corridor, Mariupol is also strategically located to give Russia control over the Azov Sea. If Odesa were to fall as well, Moscow would gain control over the Black Sea, since it already controls Crimea after the 2014 annexation. The two water bodies are critical for trade to large parts of Europe.