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Russian Federation, June 28, 2022

Dozens missing after Russian missile strike on mall kills 18

Original source


Exhausted firefighters searched on Tuesday for survivors in the rubble of a Ukrainian shopping mall, where authorities said 36 people were missing after a Russian missile strike that killed at least 18.

The attack, in the central city of Kremenchuk far from any frontline, drew a wave of global condemnation, with France's Emmanuel Macron among leaders who called it a "war crime".

Ukraine said Moscow had killed civilians deliberately. Russia said it had struck a nearby arms depot and falsely claimed that the mall was empty.

Later on Tuesday, the Ukrainian governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region southeast of Kremenchuk reported another Russian missile strike and said rescue workers were searching for people under rubble in the city of Dnipro.

The official, Valentyn Reznychenko, said that railway infrastructure and an industrial enterprise had been damaged in the city and that a services company was burning.

At a summit in Germany, leaders of the G7 industrialised democracies announced plans for a price cap on Russian oil, designed to starve Russia of the resources for war without exacerbating a global economic crisis.

Next up will be a NATO summit in Spain, at which the Western military alliance is expected to announce hundreds of thousands of troops shifting to a higher state of alert and an overhaul of its strategic framework to describe Moscow as an adversary.

Relatives of the missing in Kremenchuk were lined up at a hotel across the street from the wreckage of the shopping centre, where rescue workers had set up a base.

Weary firefighters sat on a kerb after a night battling the blaze and searching for survivors, mostly in vain.

Oleksandr, dousing his face from a water bottle, said his team had worked all night. "We pulled out five bodies. We didn't find anybody alive," he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of deliberately targeting civilians in "one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history".

Russia's defence ministry said its missiles had struck an arms depot storing Western weapons, which exploded, causing the blaze that spread to the nearby mall.

Kyiv said there was no military target in the area.

"Russia's goal is for as many Ukrainians as possible to close their eyes forever, for the rest to stop resisting and submit to slavery," Andriy Yermak, chief of Ukraine's presidential staff, said on Twitter. "That's the way the terrorist state acts."

Russia described the shopping centre as disused and empty. But that was contradicted by the relatives of the dead and missing, and the dozens of wounded survivors such as Ludmyla Mykhailets, 43, who had been shopping there with her husband when the blast threw her into the air.

"I flew head first and splinters hit my body. The whole place was collapsing," she said at a hospital where she was being treated.

G7 leaders said the attack was "abominable". Russian President Vladimir Putin and those responsible would be held to account, they said in a statement.