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happening in ukraine

At least 21 civilians dead after Russia strikes near Odesa

Rescue workers began searching in the rubble of destroyed buildings in Serhiivka, Ukraine, on Friday, after Russian missile explosions killed at least 21 civilians, including children, and injured at least 38.

The New York Times described Serhiivka as "a coastal town on the Black Sea about 48 miles southwest of the port of Odesa, which Russia covets," and reported that the explosions there marked one of the deadliest attacks on civilians since the Russian invasion began in February.

There were reportedly "no apparent military targets in the vicinity of the attack," leading Yevhen Yenin, the deputy minister of internal affairs, to say "their aim is to scare the Ukrainian people and put an end to our resistance. But the effect is the opposite. We will never surrender. This is our land."

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov denied that Russia had targeted any civilian infrastructure.

The explosions came a day after Moscow withdrew from nearby Snake Island, which Ukraine had persistently bombarded. Ukrainian authorities characterized the Serhiivka attack as payback for the forced withdrawal from the island, reports NPR