A woman clutching an infant is found in the rubble of Ukraine building after Russian drone strike – Metro US

A woman clutching an infant is found in the rubble of Ukraine building after Russian drone strike

Russia Ukraine War
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Police Press Office, emergency workers work on the site of a destroyed multi-store building after a Russian attack on residential neighbourhood in Odesa, Ukraine, Saturday, March 2, 2024. (Ukrainian Police Press Office via AP)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Western allies to boost Ukraine’s air defenses after a Russian drone strike destroyed an apartment block in the southern port city of Odesa and killed at least 11 people. Officials on Sunday said the bodies of a boy — and a young woman clutching an infant — were pulled from Saturday’s rubble.

“The mother tried to cover the 8-month-old child with her own (body). She tried to save them. They were found in a firm embrace,” said a Telegram post published on the interior ministry’s official channel. Separately, the governor of the Odesa region, Oleh Kiper, said the other child was 10.

On Saturday, Ukrainian authorities said another baby was among those killed after falling debris from an Iranian-made drone hit the building — one of eight Russian drones reported by officials. Later that day, Zelenskyy said a second child aged 2 had also died.

“Delays in the delivery of weapons to Ukraine, as well as air defense to protect our people, unfortunately result in such losses,” Zelenskyy wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

More people may still be trapped, the Odesa branch of Ukraine’s main emergency service said on Facebook. Kiper said rescue workers continued to comb through the site.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, regional authorities reported that a 58-year-old man died under rubble after Russian forces overnight shelled his village in the southern Kherson province. Another civilian man, 38, was killed in a Russian artillery strike in the neighboring Zaporizhzhia region, local Gov. Ivan Fedorov said.

On Sunday afternoon, Donetsk regional Gov. Vadim Filashkin said a Russian airstrike on the eastern town of Kurakhove wounded 16 people and damaged 15 high-rise apartment blocks.

In Russian-occupied Crimea, loud explosions were heard near an oil depot in the early hours Sunday, according to a local pro-Kyiv Telegram news channel. Kremlin-installed officials in the territory said a nearby stretch of highway was closed for about eight hours.

Videos shared with pro-Ukrainian channel Crimean Wind showed explosions lighting up the sky, followed by booms. The channel said they were taken by residents near Feodosia, a coastal town in northeastern Crimea. It was not immediately possible to verify the circumstances in which the videos were shot.

An anti-Russian, Crimean Tatar-led underground group claimed that the blasts destroyed a pipeline, causing “colossal” damage.

The group, Atesh — which means “fire” in Crimean Tatar — did not directly claim responsibility for the strike and said it had learned about its consequences from informers among Russian-appointed officials. Authorities in Kyiv did not immediately acknowledge the claims.

Traffic was halted early Sunday along a four-lane Russian federal highway near Feodosia, according to an adviser to Crimea’s Kremlin-installed leader. The Telegram post by Oleg Kryuchkov gave no reasons for the move.

More than eight hours later, Crimea’s local transport minister reported that traffic had partially resumed. A bridge that connects Crimea to Russian territory was also closed to traffic for about two hours early Sunday.

Russia’s defense ministry did not comment on the reports but claimed that 38 Ukrainian drones were intercepted overnight into Sunday over the peninsula.

In Moscow, China’s special envoy on Ukraine held talks on Saturday evening with senior Russian diplomats in the first leg of a European trip that will also take him to Brussels, Poland, Germany and France, Chinese and Russian state media reported.

China’s foreign ministry said Special Representative Li Hui and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin agreed that negotiations are the only way to end the fighting in Ukraine.

Li’s trip, the second since May, comes as Kyiv seeks Beijing’s participation in peace talks that Switzerland is trying to organize. China claims it is neutral in Russia’s war on Ukraine but maintains close ties with Moscow, with frequent state visits and joint military drills.

On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said it was time to start discussing a cease-fire between Moscow and Kyiv, claiming that “both sides have now reached the limits of the results they can achieve through war.”

Speaking at a news conference, Fidan said that such a move would not mean recognizing Russia’s occupation of parts of Ukraine.

“We believe that it is time to separate the issues of recognition of the occupation and sovereignty from the cease-fire issue,” he said.

Kozlowska reported from London. Associated Press writers Simina Mistreanu in Taipei, Taiwan and Cinar Kiper in Antalya, Turkey contributed.