Russia on Monday attacked Ukrainian civilians by bombing a “busy” shopping mall in Kremenchuk in central Ukraine. According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, at least 16 people were killed and more than 59 people were injured in this “brazen terrorist attack”.
Updated yesterday at 11:44pm.
« Today’s Russian strike [lundi] on a shopping center in Kremenchuk is one of the most brazen acts of terrorism in European history. A peaceful city, an ordinary mall [avec] in women, children, ordinary civilians,” Zelensky said in a video posted to Telegram.
According to him, there were a thousand people in the building, but “many people managed to get out.” “Only absolutely insane terrorists could attack such a facility with rockets, and they shouldn’t have any place on Earth,” Zelenskyy continued, speaking of a “calculated strike.”
Dominique Arel, Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa, second.
It was intentional. You don’t come across a mall like this by chance in broad daylight. It’s part of the strategy of terror: targeting civilians.
Dominique Arel, Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa
According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the shopping center was hit by Kh-22 anti-ship missiles launched from Russia’s Kursk region near the border between the two countries. After the attack, a fire broke out over 10,000 square meters.
Footage from the scene showed huge plumes of black smoke billowing from the blazing mall as rescue workers rushed to the scene. In the evening, rescue operations were still underway.
“A war crime” in the middle of the G7 summit
The heads of state and government of the G7, who have been meeting for a summit in southern Germany since Sunday, condemned “the heinous attack” and assured them that Vladimir Putin would be “held accountable”. “Indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime,” they said.
According to experts, this attack in the middle of the G7 summit is no coincidence. “It shows that Russia is not ready to negotiate peace. She is committed to continuing the war,” said Maria Popova, a professor of political science at McGill University.
Kremenchuk, a city in central Ukraine, had a population of around 220,000 before the war and had so far been spared bombings.
This city is obviously not important from a strategic point of view. Rather, it is an attempt by Russia to signal to Ukrainians that nowhere is safe, even in the center of the country.
Maria Popova, Professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University
“When you have a civilian target like this, which is absolutely far from the front lines and any military infrastructure, the target is terror. It aims to break Ukrainian resistance,” adds Mr. Arel.
This is not the first time Russian attacks have claimed large civilian casualties. In March, a theater in Mariupol was the target of a Moscow attack that killed around 600 people. In April, at least 59 people died in a strike at a train station east of Kramatorsk.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly strongly condemned the attack and said Russian forces would not go unpunished. For his part, US President Joe Biden called the attack “cruel” and vowed to continue defending Ukraine.
In addition, G7 leaders pledged to support Ukraine “for as long as necessary” and discussed the idea of capping Russian oil export prices in order to reduce the funds President Vladimir Putin spent on his invasion of Ukraine be available.
Eight dead in Lysychansk
In the east of the country, at least eight Ukrainian civilians were killed and 21 others injured in a Russian bomb attack on Monday while fetching water in Lysychansk, the regional governor said.
“The Russians fired Hurricane multiple rocket launchers into a crowd as civilians fetched water from a cistern. Eight residents of Lysyhansk died, 21 were hospitalized,” wrote Sergey Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, on Telegram.
It is the last major city that the Russians managed to capture in the Luhansk region, one of the two provinces of the Donbass industrial area. Gaidai reported last week that fighting in Lysychansk, which had a population of around 100,000 before the war, was causing “catastrophic destruction.”
With Agence France-Presse and The Canadian Press
What you need to know today
- Ukraine’s president said the attack in Kremenchuk was “brazen” and “calculated”.
- G7 leaders have pledged to support Ukraine “for as long as necessary” and are considering capping the price of Russian oil.
- At least 8 civilians were also killed while fetching water in Lysytchansk.
- At least 1 other civilian died during strikes against residential buildings in Sloviansk.