By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — A Russian missile strike that hit a crowded shopping center in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk has killed at least 15 people and injured more than 50 others, an attack immediately condemned by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other senior Ukrainian officials.
Regional Governor Dmytro Lunyn said on June 27 on Telegram that at least 15 people died.
Lunyn said the mall was “completely destroyed” by the missile strike. He posted a video showing firefighters searching through the debris.
The prosecutor-general’s office said more than 40 people were missing and of the 59 people who sought medical assistance almost half were in serious condition.
Zelenskiy accused Russia of being the “largest terrorist organization in the world” in a video on Telegram.
“Everyone in the world should know that buying or transporting Russian oil, maintaining ties with Russian banks, paying taxes and duties to the Russian state is giving money to terrorists,” he said.
Ukraine called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over the strike, which came on the second day of a Group of Seven (G7) summit in Germany and ahead of a NATO summit scheduled to begin later this week in Madrid.
The missile strike will be the main focus of the meeting on June 28, said a spokesman for the Albanian mission, which currently holds the rotating Security Council presidency.
Mayor Vitaliy Maletsky wrote on his Facebook page that the strike “came in a very crowded place, which is 100 percent irrelevant to hostilities,” while Zelenskiy said “more than 1,000 people were gathered” at the mall and that “it is impossible to even imagine the number of victims.”
Video recorded at the shopping center and posted on Telegram by Zelenskiy showed it engulfed in flames as huge plumes of black and gray smoke billowed out.
“No danger to the Russian Army. No strategic value. Only an attempt on the people who try to live a normal life, which so angers the [Russians],” he wrote.
Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, Russia has claimed repeatedly that it is not targeting civilians in the unprovoked war it launched on Ukraine just over four months ago.
It has not commented on the strike.
Leaders of the G7 called the missile strike a war crime and vowed to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, speaking from the G7 summit, said the Kremenchuk attacked demonstrated the “depths of cruelty and barbarism” of Putin.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the world was “horrified” by the strike, saying on Twitter it was the latest in a string of atrocities.
A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned it as “deplorable,” and French President Emmanuel Macron denounced the deadly strike as a “complete horror” and said France shares the pain of the families of the victims and the anger in the face of such “meanness.”
He included a video of the inferno in his tweet and said, “The Russian people must see the truth.”
Kremenchuk, an industrial city of just over 200,000, lies on the Dnipro River in the Poltava region and is the site of Ukraine’s biggest oil refinery.