ITV News dispatch from Odesa as city rocked by explosions and 'war planes heard overhead'

John Ray reports from Odesa as the city awakes to plumes of smoke

Any illusion that Odesa might escape the war unscathed were shattered on Sunday morning.

As dawn broke a series of loud explosions rattled the windows of our hotel.

Thick columns of black smoke soon clouded the skies and fierce fires blazed.

The target - described by the local authorities as vital infrastructure - seems to be an oil depot in an industrial area of the city.

As we watched, there were secondary explosions as storage tanks ignited.

Two witnesses described being woken by the explosions. They said they heard war planes overhead.

There are no reports so far of casualties - though the damage seems to extensive.

The Russia defence ministry said: ‘"This morning, high-precision sea and air launched missiles destroyed an oil refinery and three storage facilities for fuel and lubricants."

Smoke billows from multiple locations in the city on Sunday morning. Credit: Sean Swan

Odesa - known as the Pearl of the Black Sea - is Ukraine’s main maritime link with the outside world - an artery the Russians would like to sever.

The UK wants to beef up the city's defences against a Russian fleet that loiters ominously over the horizon.

Some believe the port city will be a new focus of Russian aggression.

More than a month into Vladimir Putin’s war it remains well out of reach of his troops. But well within the range of his air power.

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