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Russian missiles hit busy shopping centre in central Ukraine, killing 16 and injuring dozens

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By Euronews
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Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at a shopping centre burned after a rocket attack in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, Monday, June 27, 2022.
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at a shopping centre burned after a rocket attack in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, Monday, June 27, 2022.   -   Copyright  Ukrainian State Emergency Service

Russian troops struck a shopping centre in Kremenchuk in the Poltava region with at least two missiles on Monday afternoon with over a thousand people inside, Ukrainian authorities claim.

At least 16 people were killed in the strike while around 60 were injured, according to the latest information available early on Tuesday morning.

At least 25 were left hospitalised with several victims of the missile strike said to be in critical condition, local authorities said the previous evening. 

The casualty figures were changing as rescuers searched the smoldering rubble into early Tuesday. Soldiers worked into the night to lug sheets of twisted metal and broken concrete, as one drilled into what remained of the shopping centre's roof.

Footage and images from the scene show that the entire shopping centre was engulfed in the blaze, with emergency crews and passers-by trying to help the victims.

"The mall is on fire, firefighters are trying to extinguish the fire, the number of victims is impossible to imagine," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated on his Telegram account.

The attack was reminiscent of earlier strikes against civilian targets since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, such as the air strike on the Drama Theatre in the eastern port city of Mariupol in March, killing an estimated 600 of the people sheltering there.

The Amstor shopping centre was "no threat to the Russian army" and had "no strategic value", Zelenskyy said, adding that the aim of the attack was to undermine "people's attempts to live a normal life, which make the occupiers so angry."

Zelenskyy further denounced the attack as a "brazen act of terrorism" against "a peaceful town and an ordinary shopping centre" in another Telegram video on Monday night.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenskyy, said on Twitter that Russian troops "deliberately hit [the] shopping centre ... just because [they] want to kill," calling Russia "a terrorist state." 

The strike on Kremenchuk, an important industrial city in central Ukraine and home to its biggest refinery, came a day after Russian missiles hit a residential area of the capital Kyiv.

Euronews
The location of Kremenchuk in UkraineEuronews

The city of about 220,000 is also a major railroad juncture and the site of a Roshen confectionery factory, owned by former President Petro Poroshenko. 

Many believe that attacks on targets in other regions of Ukraine far from the frontline in the Donbas point to an escalation of the Kremlin's aggression, which has focused solely on the eastern region in recent months.

At Ukraine's request, the UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting in New York on Tuesday to discuss the attack.

The missile strike unfolded as Western leaders pledged continued support for Ukraine at a G7 summit in Germany.

Additional sources • AP