Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis talk during their visit to Odesa (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Deadly explosion rocks Odesa during visit by Zelensky and Greek PM

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Volodymyr Zelensky toured the war-ravaged southern city.

The sound of a large explosion reverberated around the Ukrainian port of Odesa as President Volodymyr Zelensky and Greece’s prime minister ended a tour of the war-ravaged southern city.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the delegations were getting into their vehicles when they heard the blast, which he called a “vivid reminder” that Odesa is gripped by the war with Russia.

It is one thing to hear about the war and “quite another to experience war first-hand”, Mr Mitsotakis said.

Mr Zelensky said the explosion caused an unknown number of dead and wounded. “You see who we’re dealing with, they don’t care where to hit,” he told reporters.

Mr Zelensky has regularly visited cities and military units on the front line during the war, always in secrecy until after he has left.

Foreign leaders have made numerous trips to Ukraine, and they occasionally have had to take refuge in shelters when air raid sirens sound.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned on X, formerly Twitter, what she called the “vile attack” during the Greek visit. She called it a “new attempt at terror” by Russia.

Mr Zelensky showed Mr Mitsotakis some of the destruction in Odesa, where in the most recent major Russian attack 12 people — including five children — were killed when debris from a drone hit an apartment block on March 2.

Mr Mitsotakis said Odesa held a special place in Greek history as the place where the Filiki Etairia organisation was founded that fought for Greek independence from Ottoman rule in the 19th century.

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