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Russia-Ukraine Conflict | Odessa, 'pearl of Black Sea', clings to peace, readies for war

Past a set of barricades, a road is cordoned off with large concrete blocks, with the French national motto "Liberty, equality, fraternity" written in French in yellow and blue, the colours of Ukraine's flag.

March 18, 2022 / 03:33 PM IST
In front of a barricade mounted outside Odessa's magnificent opera house, a soldier shares a long, emotional hug with his wife and daughter. (Image: AFP)
In front of a barricade mounted outside Odessa's magnificent opera house, a soldier shares a long, emotional hug with his wife and daughter. (Image: AFP)
With the sweet scent of spring in the air and barricades dotting the city, Ukraine's port of Odessa, known as the pearl of the Black Sea, is clinging to peace, but bracing itself for a Russian attack. (Image: AFP)
With the sweet scent of spring in the air and barricades dotting the city, Ukraine's port of Odessa, known as the pearl of the Black Sea, is clinging to peace, but bracing itself for a Russian attack. (Image: AFP)
Journalists have to show their credentials in order to access the city's historic centre, which is now covered in iron beams welded into crosses, while tanks are deployed at street junctions. (Image: AFP)
Journalists have to show their credentials in order to access the city's historic centre, which is now covered in iron beams welded into crosses, while tanks are deployed at street junctions. (Image: AFP)
City and defence officials organise press tours for journalists, thanking them for coming to "show the world what is happening here". Accompanied by two soldiers, a group of reporters are shown what they can and cannot film, but the atmosphere remains relaxed. (Image: AFP)
City and defence officials organise press tours for journalists, thanking them for coming to "show the world what is happening here". Accompanied by two soldiers, a group of reporters are shown what they can and cannot film, but the atmosphere remains relaxed. (Image: AFP)
Past a set of barricades, a road is cordoned off with large concrete blocks, with the French national motto "Liberty, equality, fraternity" written in French in yellow and blue, the colours of Ukraine's flag. (Image: AFP)
Past a set of barricades, a road is cordoned off with large concrete blocks, with the French national motto "Liberty, equality, fraternity" written in French in yellow and blue, the colours of Ukraine's flag. (Image: AFP)
In peaceful times, the beautiful centre of Odessa, a city founded in the late 18th century by the Russian Empress Catherine the Great and the France's Duke de Richelieu, is bustling with people and noise. It boasts trendy cafes, the luxurious "Hotel de Paris", a breathtaking view of the port and of course the 192 steps of the iconic Potemkin Stairs descending toward it. (Image: AFP)
In peaceful times, the beautiful centre of Odessa, a city founded in the late 18th century by the Russian Empress Catherine the Great and the France's Duke de Richelieu, is bustling with people and noise. It boasts trendy cafes, the luxurious "Hotel de Paris", a breathtaking view of the port and of course the 192 steps of the iconic Potemkin Stairs descending toward it. (Image: AFP)
But today the silence of the city is broken only by a loudspeaker blasting from Odessa's famous funicular, which runs alongside the stairs. "Warning! Alert! Stay safe!" A few shots are sometimes heard from the harbour. (Image: AFP)
But today the silence of the city is broken only by a loudspeaker blasting from Odessa's famous funicular, which runs alongside the stairs. "Warning! Alert! Stay safe!" A few shots are sometimes heard from the harbour. (Image: AFP)
Perched on a pedestal, the famous statue of Richelieu is now completely covered in sandbags, a symbolic image of this conflict that has travelled the world. (Image: AFP)
Perched on a pedestal, the famous statue of Richelieu is now completely covered in sandbags, a symbolic image of this conflict that has travelled the world. (Image: AFP)
A statue of Catherine the Great, which is shorter and less vulnerable, only has the Ukrainian flag to protect it. (Image: AFP)
A statue of Catherine the Great, which is shorter and less vulnerable, only has the Ukrainian flag to protect it. (Image: AFP)
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