Russian missiles hit an apartment building and a resort near Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odesa early Friday, killing at least 19 people and wounding dozens, according to Ukrainian authorities. The latest deadly missile strike came a day after Ukraine retook Snake Island, a strategic Black Sea outcrop. Moscow denied responsibility for the strikes. Follow our live blog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time, GMT+2.
11:58am: Moscow denies striking apartments near Ukraine's Odesa as death toll climbs
Ukrainian authorities said Russian missiles had hit an apartment building and two holiday camps. Officials said at least 16 people had been killed at the apartment block in the village of Serhiivka, and another three, including one child, in strikes that hit nearby holiday resorts.
"I would like to remind you of the president's words that the Russian Armed Forces do not work with civilian targets," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.
9:52am: EU chief urges Ukraine to speed up anti-corruption reform
The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told Ukraine's parliament on Friday that European Union membership was "within reach" but urged them to press forward with anti-corruption reforms.
"You have created an impressive anti-corruption machine," she told the lawmakers by video link. "But now these institutions need teeth, and the right people in senior posts."
Von der Leyen's warm address heaped praise on Ukraine's parliament and President Volodymyr Zelensky's government for their swift and successful push to become candidates for EU membership.
And she stressed that Brussels and the EU member states were firmly behind Ukraine in both its fight against the ongoing Russian invasion and the quest to be "reunited with our European family".
But she also insisted on the need to build on reforms already introduced since Ukraine's 2014 revolt against its previous government to battle corruption and the grip of oligarchs on its economy.
7:43am: Missiles kill 17 near Odesa after Ukraine retakes Snake Island
Ukrainian authorities now say at least 17 people are dead and dozens wounded after a Russian missile strike early Friday (see 1:59am, below) on an apartment building and a resort near Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odesa, the latest in a spate of deadly missile strikes.
With its ground forces concentrated in Ukraine's eastern industrial region of Donbas, Russia has more than doubled the number of missile strikes around the country in the past two weeks, using inaccurate Soviet-era missiles for more than half of the attacks, according to a Ukrainian brigadier general.
One missile struck a nine-story building in the town of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi at about 1:00am (2200 GMT Thursday), the Ukrainian emergencies ministry said. It also caused a fire in an attached store building.
A rescue operation is underway as some people remained buried under the rubble after part of the building collapsed, Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for the Odesa regional administration, told Ukrainian state television.
Another missile hit a resort facility, Bratchuk said, killing at least three people including a child and wounding one more person.
Reuters could not independently confirm details of the incident.
4:57am: Ukraine starts exporting electricity to EU: Zelensky
Ukraine has started exporting electricity to the European Union via Romania, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, as Russia reduces gas supplies to the bloc supporting Kyiv in resisting Moscow's invasion.
Several European countries, including Italy and Germany, are highly reliant upon Russian gas for their energy needs but have been forced to look for alternatives as Moscow slashes deliveries.
Speaking Thursday, Zelensky said "This is only the first stage. We are preparing to increase supply."
1:59am: Russian missile strike slams Odesa apartment building
The missile struck the building in the town of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi at about 1am local time (2200 GMT Thursday), the ministry said in a statement. It also caused a fire in an attached store building.
Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odesa regional administration, told Ukrainian state television that a rescue operation was under way as some people remained buried under the rubble after a section of the building collapsed.
Another missile hit a resort facility, Bratchuk said, wounding several people. Reuters could not independently confirm details of the incident.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)