Russian forces hold 11 Ukrainian mayors captive and kill one in detention, says Ukrainian minister

Russian forces hold 11 Ukrainian mayors captive and kill one in detention, says Ukrainian minister

A man stands with his dog as smoke rises after a Russian attack in Odesa, on April 3. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

The Russian defense ministry on Sunday confirmed a strike on an oil refinery and fuel storage facilities in the key Ukrainian port city of Odesa, which has largely been spared the full brunt of Russian assaults since the invasion began in February.

“This morning, high-precision sea and air-based missiles destroyed an oil refinery and three storage facilities for fuel and lubricants near the city of Odesa, from which fuel was supplied to the group of Ukrainian troops in the Mykolaiv direction,” a statement on Telegram read.

Odesa Mayor Hennadii Trukhanov said there were no casualties following the strike.

“Today the occupiers struck Odesa’s critical infrastructure objects with missiles,” Trukhanov said in televised remarks. “There’s fire, there’s smoke. Luckily, there are no casualties. Only buildings are damaged. The situation is under control.”

Trukhanov said civilian buildings and private houses were damaged in the attack.

The mayor also speculated that Russia would at some point use a contingent of troops stationed in Transnistria — a separatist republic in the neighboring country of Moldova — echoing concerns previously raised by Ukrainian officials.

“Of course, at some point sooner or later they will use them,” he said. “It’s difficult to say in which direction, but there’s a threat. (Ukraine’s Armed Forces) know this and are working on this.”

Russian troops stationed in Transnistria are not known to have been involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Some background: A CNN team witnessed the aftermath of the strike, which occurred on Sunday morning and sent thick black clouds of smoke over the city.

A fuel depot in the Ukrainian city of Odesa was burning, the CNN team on the scene witnessed, with one local telling CNN they heard six explosions at the fuel depot before sunrise.

Speaking about the strike, Serhii Bratchuk, spokesman of the Operational Staff of Odesa regional military administration said, “One of the critical infrastructure objects was hit this this morning.”

“Currently the situation is under control, the respective services are working on site. The details will be announced later,” Bratchuk added.

The Odesa City Council confirmed an air attack on their Telegram account Sunday morning, saying that some Russian missiles were downed by their air defense system and that fire had broken out in some districts.

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