The war with Russia has been particularly painful for Odessa, even as the city has avoided the brutal ground fighting ongoing across swathes of eastern and southern Ukraine. Founded during the reign of Catherine the Great, the city -- with its baroque architecture and sandy beaches -- became emblematic of the glory days of the Russian empire and was later one of the most valuable ports during the Soviet era. And as Ukraine gained independence, Odessa maintained its deep economic, familial, and cultural ties with Russia along with its own share of accusations in recent years of harbouring pro-Kremlin sympathies. But the sentiment has changed now. "Putin and his regime, with their own hands, destroyed our relationship as a whole," says Odessa mayor Gennady Trukhanov, who was once regarded as a Kremlin sympathizer.