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Missile Shelling of the Odesa Region: Invaders Killed 22 People in Serhiyivka

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On the night of July 1, Russian invaders shelled the resort village of Serhiyivka in the Odesa Region. A recreation center and residential apartment building were struck by Soviet Kh-22 rockets. In the aftermath of the shelling, almost 40 people suffered injuries ranging from minor to severe and were hospitalized. There were 22 deaths, including a 12-year-old boy. This Russian attack in the Odesa Region was the bloodiest since the full-scale invasion began.

It is about 80 kilometers from Serhiyivka, a village on the Black Sea and Budatsky estuary, to Odesa. It is one of the most popular resorts in the region, with more than 5 thousand residents. During the tourist season, this figure is increasing significantly, because there are dozens of recreational facilities – boarding houses, children’s camps, health resorts, and campings. There are no military facilities in Serhiyivka. 

The attack on the resort village took place on the night of July 1, after midnight. Russian bombers fired three Kh-22 rockets from the Black Sea. They struck the territory of the recreation center, collapsing the building, and a nearby nine-story residential building, burying residents of four floors under the rubble.

The shockwave wave also damaged nearby buildings, destroying their windows, doors, balconies, and partially collapsing the facade. The yard was filled with rubble and bloody clothes, and the cars parked nearby were severely mangled.

Since midnight, rescuers began to put out the fires and remove the rubble. By morning, they extracted 18 bodies from under the rubble [unfortunately, the death toll increased afterward]. The locals who managed to survive were waiting in the middle of the courtyard for permission from the law enforcers and the emergency services to go into their apartments to see what was left of them.

Among them were Valeriy and Larysa. At the time of the attack, the spouses were at home, getting ready for bed. Since there had been no shelling in Serhiyivka before this tragedy, according to the woman, they did not pay much attention to the air-raid alarm. 

The first explosion caused the door in the apartment to open, so the family thought there had been a gas cylinder explosion somewhere nearby. The second explosion destroyed their apartment, Valeriy and Larysa found themselves buried under broken kitchen cabinets, furniture, doors, and windows. They were helped out of the apartment by a man who walked up and down the floors after the attack and called for survivors. 

“He shifted the rubble and pulled us out. It’s a good thing the stairs one floor down didn’t get bombed, and we made it to the street,” Larysa said. 

According to the woman, of the tenants whose apartments faced the south side, where the missiles came from, few have survived. When the couple got out of the building, they saw their neighbors’ apartment completely destroyed. The neighbors were a married couple, the husband worked as a physical education teacher, and the wife as a nutritionist. 

“We knew right away that they were gone. Their apartment looked like after a nuclear war. A human cannot survive that,” Valeriy added. 

Olh was originally from Luhansk, but after 2014, she and her children moved to the Odesa Region. At the time of the shelling, the woman was in a neighboring house, where she was visiting her friends. As she approached the ruins, Olha began to cry. A friend of hers lived in the destroyed entranceway, and she was taken to the hospital with severe blood loss. 

“I was sound asleep, I didn’t even hear the siren. The first two strikes ripped out the interior doors and windows. My friend called and said we were being bombed. In my sleep, I didn’t immediately understand what was going on. And then the third strike came. I ran straight to the bathroom, and my friend, without thinking, went to the window and her face was cut by fragments of glass. She is hospitalized with numerous wounds right now. It took a long time for them to stop the bleeding. She lost a lot, but what matters most is that she is alive,” said Olha. 

Another resident of a neighboring house, Iryna, came to Serhiyivka from Odesa because she thought it was safer here. When she heard the air-raid alarm, the woman and her child hid in the hallway, observing the “two walls” rule [one wall stops the projectile, the other protects from fragments]. Her mother and husband ignored the alarm and did not get out in time. When the explosion happened, furniture, doors, and glass were thrown in their direction.  Fortunately, they survived.

“I covered the child with my body and kept talking to her. I told her everything would be okay, so she wouldn’t worry. And I prayed for myself, that my body would be strong enough to save my daughter from the rubble,” said Iryna. 

Thirty-nine citizens, six of whom were children, suffered injuries of varying severity. All were hospitalized, and two are in critical condition. Twenty-two people died: rescuers found 16 bodies under the rubble of the house, five in the destroyed building of the recreation center, another woman died in hospital. 

Among the dead was 12-year-old Dmytro Rudnytskyi. The boy died together with his mother, Nadiya, who worked at the recreation center. Doctors are now fighting for his father’s life. It was later revealed that among those killed that day were two judges from the Donetsk Region, Olha and Mariya Ilyashevychs , a member of the executive committee of the Kotsiubynske village council of Kyiv Region Roman Mykolaichuk, as well as the coach and president of the Odesa children’s soccer club Atletik Oleksandr Shyshkov

According to Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Yevneh Yenin, the attack on Serhiyivka may be an act of vengeance by the Russians for liberating Snake Island and introducing a visa regime with the invaders.

“Perhaps this is revenge for the fact that we are liberating our territory. Yesterday, thanks to the heroic efforts of the AFU, Snake Island was liberated from the enemy. And today we see a response with missile strikes on Ukraine, on civilian targets. We cannot interpret such actions in any other way than a violation of the laws and customs of war. It is also symbolic that as of July 1, Ukraine said no to visa-free travel with Russia,” Yenin said

The prosecutor’s office has already opened criminal proceedings under Part 2 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code – Violation of Laws and Customs of War, Combined with Premeditated Murder.

According to Yevgeny Yenin, a group of prosecutors from the International Criminal Court is due to arrive in Odesa in the near future to help with the investigation and possibly bring evidence from this case to international proceedings against Russia. 

Olha Ivlieva

This article was produced by Bihus.Info as part of the program “Supporting Ukraine’s Regional Media in Times of War” with the financial support of the European Union and the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of Norway. The content is the sole responsibility of Bihus.Info and does not reflect the views of the European Union, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

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