Russian missiles attack shopping mall with more than 1,000 people and at least 3 dead, Ukrainian officials say

Two Russian missiles slammed into a crowded shopping center in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, on Monday, killing at least three people and injuring 40, senior Ukrainian officials said.

The attack caused a huge fire and sent black smoke into the sky, footage released by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy showed.

A Reuters reporter saw the charred shell of a shopping complex with a collapsed roof. Firefighters and soldiers removed mangled pieces of metal as they searched for survivors.

“We don’t understand how many people could be left under the rubble,” the head of the regional rescue service said on television.

Zelenskiy said more than 1,000 people were in the mall at the time of the attack. He gave no details of the casualties but said: ‘It is impossible even to imagine the number of casualties.

Dmytro Lunin, the regional governor, said it was unlikely that many survivors would be found in the smoldering rubble because “it was a big fire and there was a lot of smoke”.

He said there was no nearby military target that Russia could have targeted and added: “This is an act of terrorism against civilians.”

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At one point, paramedics rushed into the building after rescuers called “200,” meaning they had found one or more bodies in the building.

“There is no point hoping for decency and humanity from Russia,” Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

A rescue operation was underway and nine of the injured were in serious condition, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office.

“Rescuers from all surrounding areas are heading to the scene to extinguish the fire and work to liquidate its consequences,” Tymoshenko said.

Ukraine wants more weapons

Kremenchuk, an industrial city of 217,000 before the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, sits on the Dnipro River in the Poltava region and is the site of Ukraine’s largest oil refinery.

There was no immediate comment from Russia, which denies deliberately targeting civilians.

“We need more weapons to protect our people, we need missile defences,” said Andriy Yermak, chief of the president’s office.

Vadym Denysenko, an adviser to the Interior Ministry, said Russia could have had three motives for the attack.

“The first, no doubt, is to sow panic, the second is to…destroy our infrastructure, and the third is to…raise the stakes for the civilized West to return to the table for talks “, he added. said.

Russia, which captured the Ukrainian town of Sievierodonetsk on the eastern frontline over the weekend after a week-long assault, has stepped up its missile strikes at targets across Ukraine in recent days.

Missiles hit a building and landed near a kindergarten in the Ukrainian capital on Sunday, killing one person and injuring several others.

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