Zelensky defiant as Ukraine mourns victims of Odesa drone strike

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday called for the world to help Kiev defeat "Russian evil" as the death toll from a drone strike on Odesa rose to 12, including five children.

The strike on an apartment block in the southern port city early Saturday morning partially destroyed several floors, leaving more than a dozen people under the rubble.

The attack killed five children, including two babies less than a year old, according to statements by Zelensky and the regional governor.

"Mark, who was not even three years old, Yelyzaveta, eight months old, and Timofey, four months old," Zelensky said, naming the youngest victims of the strike in a post on Telegram.

"Ukrainian children are Russia's military targets," he added.

Rescuers were still pulling bodies from the rubble on Sunday evening, more than 36 hours after the strike, although Zelensky said the search and rescue operation had been called off.

He had pleaded Saturday with Kiev's Western allies to supply more air-defence systems as Russia continued to pound Ukraine with drones, missiles and artillery fire in the war's third year.

Kiev is currently on the back foot, following recent battlefield gains by Russia.

Zelensky said this latest strike underlined the importance of supporting Ukraine. A stalled $60-billion aid package from the United States has left Kiev facing ammunition shortages.

"We are waiting for supplies that are vitally necessary, we are waiting, in particular, for an American solution," Zelensky said later Sunday in his evening address.

Russia had lost 15 military aircraft since the beginning of February, he added. "The more opportunities we have to shoot down Russian aircraft... the more Ukrainian lives will be...

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