Ukraine says Russian missile strike on shopping mall kills at least 13

  • Ukrainian officials say a shopping mall has been hit by missiles
  • President Zhelensky has condemned the attack
  • Russia has denied targeting civilians in Ukraine

KRYMENSUK, Ukraine, June 27 (Reuters) – At least 13 people were killed and 50 wounded when two Russian missiles crashed into a crowded shopping center in the central Ukrainian city of Kremensuk on Monday, the regional governor said.

President Volodymyr Zhelensky said more than 1,000 people were in the shopping center during the attack, which caused a huge fire and sent black smoke into the sky, witnesses said.

A Reuters reporter saw the charred husk of a shopping mall, with the roof inside the cave. Firefighters and soldiers searched for survivors and pulled out pieces of decomposed metal.

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“It is impossible to even imagine the number of victims … It is useless to trust dignity and humanity from Russia,” Zhelensky wrote in the Telegram news app.

Dmitry Lunin, governor of the central Poltava region, wrote in a telegram that it had now been confirmed that 13 people had been killed by the strike, and that it was too early to talk about the final death toll as rescuers continued to be dragged into the rubble.

Lunin wrote in a telegram that 21 people had been admitted to the hospital and 29 had been given first aid without being admitted to the hospital.

“This is an act of terrorism against civilians,” he said separately, suggesting that Russia was nowhere near a possible military target.

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At one point, paramedics rushed into the building after rescuers called “200”. Reporters were later evacuated from the scene as airstrikes sirens sounded again.

Ukraine needs more weapons

As night fell, rescue workers arrived with flashlights and generators and continued the search. Concerned family members, some with tears in their eyes, set up a rescue squad at a hotel across the street from the mall.

Grill Zepolovsky, 24, was looking for his friend Ruslan, 22, who worked at an electronics store, but he had no information from the bomber. “We texted and called him, but nothing happened,” he said. When he found his friend, he left his name and phone number with rescue workers.

Roman, 28, a mall worker who gave his name, told Reuters that the mall management only allowed stores to open during airstrikes three days ago.

Kremenchuk was a 217,000 industrial city before Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, located on the Dinibro River in the Boltawa region and the site of Ukraine’s largest oil refinery.

The mall was attacked by two long-range X-22 missiles fired from Tu-22M3 bombers flying from Shaykovka airport in Russia’s Kaluga region, according to the Ukrainian Air Force Command.

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, wrote on Twitter that the attack was “Ukrainian provocation” without quoting sources.

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“Before the NATO summit, what should the Kiev regime focus on in Ukraine,” he said, referring to the coalition’s Madrid meeting, which is set to begin on Tuesday.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that the upcoming summit would acknowledge the new aid package for Ukraine in areas such as “secure communications, anti-drone systems and fuel.”

“We need more weapons to protect our people, we need missile defense,” Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s office, wrote on Twitter after the attack.

Home Ministry spokesman Vadim Denisenko said Russia could have three motives for the attack.

“The first is, no doubt, sowing panic, the second … destroying our infrastructure, and the third … raising the stakes to get the civilized West back at the table for talks,” he said. Said.

Russia, which has captured the eastern Ukrainian city of Sivrodonetsk after a week-long offensive, has recently stepped up missile strikes across Ukraine. read more

On Sunday, missiles struck an apartment building near a kindergarten in the Ukrainian capital, killing one person and wounding several others. read more

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Report by Simon Lewis; Additional report by Pavel Polityuk and Max Hunder; Written by Tom Palmford and Max Hunter; Editing by Lisa Schumacher and Alistair Bell

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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