Condemning the attack on his own Telegram channel, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there would “definitely be a retaliation” to the attack. “Missiles against peaceful cities, against residential buildings, a cathedral … there can be no excuse for Russian evil,” he said.
A later video posted to social media by the Odesa City Council shows Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov walking through the cathedral, which is strewn with rubble and debris and significantly damaged.
The cathedral belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and was the first church in the city, which was founded in 1794. The church has been accused of having links to Russia, although it has insisted that it’s loyal to Ukraine, has denounced the Russian invasion from the start and has declared its independence from Moscow.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement Sunday that its forces had attacked sites in Odesa “where terrorist acts against the Russian Federation were being prepared,” according to the Associated Press. It said that the strikes had been carried out with sea- and air-based long-range high-precision weapons, and that there were “foreign mercenaries” at the targeted sites.