Ten killed in Russian rocket attack on Ukrainian shopping center

by Barbara R. Abercrombie
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Senior Ukrainian officials said a Russian missile strike struck a busy shopping center in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, killing at least ten people and injuring 40.

Monday’s attack caused a massive fire and sent dark smoke into the sky, according to images circulated by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“10 dead and more than 40 people injured. This is currently the situation in Kremenchuk due to the missile attack,” said Dmytro Lunin, head of Poltava’s administration.

Firefighters and soldiers were seen removing mutilated pieces of metal as they searched for survivors.

“We do not understand how many people are still under the rubble,” the chief of the regional rescue service said on television.

Another act of the Russian genocide against the Ukrainian people. This time, the Russians targeted a shopping center in #Kremenchuk in the afternoon, which is always particularly busy. The war criminals want deliberately d to kill civilians, and deliver the greatest number of victims. pic.twitter.com/3PbCnjc7PU

— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) June 27, 2022

Russian rocket attack

Zelenskyy said the mall “posed no threat to the Russian military” and had “no strategic value”. He accused Russia of sabotaging “people’s attempts to live normal lives, which make the occupiers so angry”.

“Russia continues to express its impotence on ordinary citizens. It makes no sense to hope for decency and humanity on her part,” he said.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Kyiv, said about half of the injured were treated in a hospital.

“Ukrainians say there were no strategic targets this attack could have targeted,” Stratford said.

According to the Ukrainian army, ” We do know that the city’s bridge was hit by a Russian shell yesterday, and at least one was killed and five others injured.”

Stratford described “terrifying images” of flames and smoke billowing from the mall, saying: “The Kremlin is telling the world they are trying to avoid civilian casualties in this war.

Kremenchuk is about 200 km from the southern front line and a similar distance to the east, he said.

Mayor Vitaliy Maletskiy wrote on Facebook that the attack “hit a very busy area, 100 percent certain it has no ties to the armed forces”.

The attack led to condemnations from Ukrainian officials, including Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who called for more heavy weapons into Ukraine and further sanctions against Russia.

An lA Russian attack has hit a large shopping center in Kremenchuk with hundreds of civilians inside. Russia is a disgrace to humanity and must face the consequences. The answer should be more heavy weapons for Ukraine, sanctions against Russia, and companies leaving Russia. pic.twitter.com/Uvi6fbyShK

— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) June 27, 2022

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the attack on the mall demonstrates the “depth of brutality and barbarity” of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

“Putin must realize that his behavior will do nothing but reinforce the determination that the UK and every other G7 country support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he said.

Russian offensive escalates

The attack came as Russia launched an all-out assault on the last Ukrainian stronghold in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province, during which the city of Lysychansk was “fired from the ground and the air,” according to the local governor.

Russian forces appear to be stepping up attacks on the country at a greater distance after driving Ukrainian troops out of the neighboring city of Severodonetsk in recent days.

Meanwhile, Western leaders continue to pledge steadfast and continued support for Kyiv.

According to Secretary-General of the military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO will agree to provide further military support to Ukraine — including secure communications and anti-drone systems — when its leaders meet in Spain on Tuesday for a summit.

The battle for Severodonetsk and Lysychansk is part of a ramped-up Russian offensive to take control of the wider Donbas region from Ukraine.

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