Russia launched 19 missiles overnight, crushing Odesa’s historic city centre and grain hub port – leaving one dead and many more injured.
Ukraine on Sunday said the death toll from the overnight strikes killed one person and left 22 people wounded, including four children.
Meanwhile, Moscow claimed that the strike hit targets that were ‘preparing terrorist acts’.
It said Moscow launched the weapons from land, air and sea on its Black Sea port at night, in another wave of attacks on the historic city after Russia exited the grain deal.
Meanwhile Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attacks and swore that ‘this evil will lose’.
The strikes heavily damaged the Transfiguration Cathedral in the UNESCO-protected historic city centre, which dates back to 1809 and is the city’s largest Orthodox church building.
Russia launched 19 missiles on the Ukrainian city of Odesa overnight, devastating the grain hub port and historic buildings
The strikes heavily damaged the Transfiguration Cathedral in the UNESCO-protected historic city centre
Before and after: The interior of the Transfiguration Cathedral in the historic city centre in its ornate glory, and after in the destruction
Pictures from the scene showed that the roof had been caved in, while the sections of the interior and pieces of artwork lay amid rubble. Six residential buildings were also destroyed.
Russia has been launching persistent attacks on Odesa, a key hub for exporting grain, since Moscow cancelled a landmark grain deal on Monday amid Kyiv’s grinding efforts to retake its occupied territories.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative had allowed Ukraine to export to some of the poorest countries in the world.
Earlier this week Russia targeted parts of Odesa and Chornomorsk, destroying 60,000 tons of grain, according to Ukraine’s agricultural ministry.
‘In total, the enemy used 19 missiles of various types,’ Ukraine’s air force said on Telegram, saying nine of the weapons were destroyed.
It said these included Oniks cruise missiles, sea-launched Kalibrs and Iskander ballistic missiles.
‘A man born in 1974 was killed in the night time shelling,’ Igor Klymenko, Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, said on Telegram, bringing the toll to two.
‘Twenty-two people were injured. Among them are four children: 11, 12, and two 17-year-olds.’
Before and after: The Transfiguration Cathedral after it was rebuilt in 1999; and having been destroyed on Sunday morning
A car amongst the rubble of buildings damaged as a result of a missile strike
Pictures of the interior of the cathedral showed damaged architecture and destroyed artworks
Two men stand among the rubble of a building – six residential buildings were damaged in the attacks
A video showed a fire raging throughout the interior of the cathedral as the historic city centre was attacked
Church personnel inspected the damage caused to their place of worship, which is the largest Orthodox church building in Odesa
‘The Transfiguration Cathedral, located in the historic centre of Odesa, protected by UNESCO, was destroyed. A war crime that will never be forgotten and forgiven,’ Ukraine’s foreign ministry said on Twitter.
The cathedral was originally destroyed by the Soviets in 2936. It was consecrated once more in 2003 but has now been damaged once more.
Zelensky took to Twitter on Sunday morning to express sympathy and horror in response to the recent attacks.
The Ukrainian leader said: ‘Missiles against peaceful cities, against residential buildings, a cathedral… There can be no excuse for Russian evil.
‘As always, this evil will lose. And there will definitely be a retaliation to Russian terrorists for Odesa. They will feel this retaliation.’
He continued: ‘All those who suffered from this latest terrorist attack are being provided with assistance. I am grateful to everyone who is helping people and to everyone who is with Odesa in their thoughts and emotions.
‘We will get through this. We will restore peace. And for this, we must defeat the Russian evil.’
Meanwhile, Ole Kiper, governor of the region, wrote on Telegram: ‘Odesa: another night attack of the monsters. ‘
Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik said on Twitter: ‘Odesa suffered one more hellish night: russian air attack killed one, injured nearly 20, ruined buildings, architectural monuments. We are reaching the highest level of pain scale.’
A local man walks his dog in rubble near a shelling-damaged residential building in Odesa
The outside of the cathedral seemed on the verge of splitting in two early on Sunday
While some artworks and religious figures were preserved, others were destroyed by the missiles
The dome appeared to be still intact but the surrounding roof fell through, leaving only timbers
Local residents walks across debris at a site of a residential building damaged during Russian missile strikes on Sunday
A destroyed car was left flipped upside-down after the impact
Firefighters also attended the cathedral to assess the level of the damage
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky took to Twitter to condemn the attacks, vowing ‘this evil will lose’
Mr Kiper noted that six residential buildings, including apartment buildings, were destroyed by the strikes.
In one such case in central Odesa, some people became trapped in their apartments as a result of the damage caused by the attack, which left rubble strewn in the street and partly blocking the road, and damage to power lines.
Svitlana Molcharova, 85, was rescued by emergency service workers.
But after she received first medical aid, she refused to leave her destroyed apartment.
‘I will stay here,’ she said to the emergency service worker who advised her to leave.
‘I woke up when the ceiling started to fall on me. I rushed into the corridor,’ said Ivan Kovalenko, 19, another resident of the building.
He came to Odesa having fled the city of Mykolaiv in search of a safer place to live after his house was destroyed.
‘That’s how I lost my home in Mykolaiv, and here, I lost my rented apartment.’
Zelensky took to Twitter on Sunday morning to express sympathy and horror in response to the recent attacks
Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik said on Twitter: ‘Odesa suffered one more hellish night’
Odesa is a key hub on the Black Sea for the importing of grain to poor countries around the world. Pictured: A pile of maize grains at the Izmail Sea Port, Odesa region, on July 22
In his home, the ceiling partially collapsed, the balcony came off the side of the building, and all the windows were blown out.
The Transfiguration Cathedral, one of the most important and largest Orthodox Cathedrals in Odesa, was severely damaged.
‘The destruction is enormous, half of the cathedral is now roofless,’ said Archdeacon Andrii Palchuk, as cathedral workers brought documents and valuable items out of the severely building, the floor of which was inundated with water used by firefighters to extinguish the fire.
Mr Palchuk said the damage was caused by a direct hit from a Russian missile that penetrated the building down to the basement and caused significant damage. Two people who were inside at the time of the strike were wounded.
‘But with God’s help, we will restore it,’ he said, bursting into tears.
Odesa’s historic centre was designated an endangered World Heritage Site by the United Nations’ cultural agency, Unesco, earlier this year, despite Russian opposition.
Earlier Russian attacks this week crippled significant parts of export facilities in Odesa and nearby Chornomorsk and destroyed 60,000 tons of grain, according to Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry.
Putin vowed to retaliate against Kyiv for an attack Monday on the crucial Kerch Bridge linking Russia with the Crimean Peninsula, which the Kremlin illegally annexed in 2014.
The attacks come as Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko is expected to visit Vladimir Putin in Russia today.