Russia narrows in on Black Sea and strikes Odesa, Moldova remains ‘vigilant’ as turmoil escalates

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Russia appears to be making good on its attempts to gain “full control” over not only eastern Ukraine but its southern regions along the Black Sea as explosions hit the city of Odesa and neighboring Moldova Saturday. 

Six missiles targeted the port city according to Ukraine’s southern military command.

Spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk confirmed that four rockets struck a furniture factory in a residential area, while two other strikes hit a previously damaged runway strip, first reported Reuters.

People watch as smoke rises in the air after shelling in Odesa, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022. 
(AP)

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It remains unclear if any causalities have been confirmed. 

Russian forces also reportedly hit an energy company in the southern city of Mykolaiv with 20 workers on-site at the time of the attack, though no causalities have been reported. 

Explosions were confirmed in the Moldovan breakaway region of Transnistria Saturday after two drones were reported to be flying over military units in the village of Voronkove – roughly five miles from the Ukrainian border.

Moldovan President Maya Sandu said officials continue to assess that “Moldova is safe, but we remain vigilant.” 

“The government’s priority is to preserve peace, life and security of citizens,” she said during a press conference with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, according to local news outlets.

Late last month Russia said that the second phase of its military operation in Ukraine would not only focus on the Russian-backed breakaway regions in the eastern Donbas, but would also target Ukraine’s southern regions and potentially neighboring Moldova. 

A woman walks as smoke rises in the air in the background after shelling in Odesa, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022.

A woman walks as smoke rises in the air in the background after shelling in Odesa, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022.
(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to continue fighting and NATO allies have increased their support for not only Kyiv but nations that border the war-torn country.

Despite international ire over the illegal invasion and mounting allegations of gross human rights abuses, a Moscow official doubled down on the Kremlin’s determination to take Ukrainian territory Friday.

Speaking from a visit to the occupied region of Kherson, a Russian lawmaker said Russia would remain in southern Ukraine “forever,” reported a Moscow-based media outlet. 

“Russia is here forever. There should be no doubt about this. There will be no return to the past,” an official by the name of Andrey Turchak reportedly said. “We will live together, develop this rich region, rich in historical heritage, rich in the people who live here.”

Ukrainian firefighters work at a scene of a destroyed building after shelling in Odesa, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022.

Ukrainian firefighters work at a scene of a destroyed building after shelling in Odesa, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022.
(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

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Ukrainian officials have been sounding the alarm that Russia will look to annex the southern region of Kherson and recent reporting has suggested they have blocked all Ukrainians from evacuating the area. 

Men of fighting age have been rounded up and detained in filtration camps where officials believe they will then be conscripted into the Russian military or used for hard labor. 

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