Five killed in Russian missile attack as Ukraine’s ‘Harry Potter castle’ goes up in flames

At least five people were killed and more than 30 injured in a Russian missile attack on the Black Sea port city of Odesa on Monday, Ukrainian authorities say.

Dramatic video footage of the attack, released by the office of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, showed dozens of bomblets exploding within seconds of each other in an area close to the seafront.

Other videos and pictures shared by officials showed flames engulfing the cone-shaped towers and roof of an educational institution known locally as “Harry Potter castle” due to its resemblance to a Scottish baronial pile.

Ukrainian authorities believe Russia used an Iskander ballistic missile and cluster munitions to carry out the attack.

“Metal fragments and missile debris were recovered within a 1.5 km (nearly 1 mile) radius from the attack site,” Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said. He added that “the investigation has grounds to believe” the Russian military used cluster munitions with the intention of inflicting large number of casualties.

He said two children and a pregnant woman were among the 30 people injured in the attack.

Nearly 20 residential buildings and infrastructure facilities were also damaged from the strike.

The use, transfer, and production of cluster munitions is prohibited by an international treaty known as the Convention on Cluster Munitions. However, neither side – nor the United States – has signed the convention.

Cluster munitions have been used by both sides in the war and have been transferred to Ukraine by the United States as part of a military aid package last year.

Russia claims intercept

Meanwhile, Russian officials say air defenses in Crimea succeeded in intercepting a major missile and drone attack by Ukraine.

Kremlin-appointed Sergey Aksyonov, the top civilian official in occupied Crimea, warned people not to approach possible unexploded ordinance, while one of his officials urged people not to film or post videos of Russian air defenses in action.

Russian military bloggers said the targets were airfields.

The bridge linking Crimea to Russia, a vital artery for supplying Russia’s ongoing war efforts, was temporarily closed for traffic, but has since reopened.

Russian officials said the attack was primarily carried out using six US-supplied Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), which it said had all been successfully shot down by air defenses.

Ukraine has not commented, and CNN is unable to verify Russia’s claims. Unusually, almost no videos or images of the explosions have emerged.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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