Russian strikes obliterate Kyiv shopping centre leaving at least eight dead

21 March 2022, 09:01 | Updated: 21 March 2022, 11:54

By Emma Soteriou

At least eight people have been killed after a Kyiv shopping centre was destroyed by a huge blast, with rescuers still attempting to pull civilians from the wreckage.

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Shelling hit homes and Retroville shopping centre in Kyiv's Podilskyi district just before 11pm on Sunday, city authorities said.

The force of the explosion shattered every window in a high-rise building next door, with cars pulverised in the car park.

"The enemy continues to attack the capital," mayor Vitali Klitschko posted on Telegram on Monday morning.

"At night, rescuers put out a fire in the Podolsk district for a long time.

Wreckage of a damaged shopping centre in Podilskyi district of Kyiv by the Russian air strikes, amid Russian invasion.
Wreckage of a damaged shopping centre in Podilskyi district of Kyiv by the Russian air strikes, amid Russian invasion. Picture: Alamy

"Where as a result of shelling the shopping center burned down, 6 apartment houses were damaged. Three of them are unfit for life. Eight people died."

He also said that a new curfew would be introduced in Kyiv from 8pm local time until 7am on March 23.

"I ask everyone to stay at home or in shelters," he added.

It came after Mr Klitschko said on Sunday evening: "According to the information we have at the moment, several homes and one of the shopping centres [were hit]."

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Firefighters were left working throughout the night to continue their desperate search for civilians.

However, despite trying to rescue as many as possible from the rubble of the complex, the death toll continues to rise.

The Kyiv department of the state emergency service initially confirmed that at least four had died but latest reports have suggested up to eight could have been killed with dozens still missing.

Bodies were seen lined up outside the centre as soldiers joined firefighters at the scene to help in their search.

man is seen inside the damaged shopping mall
man is seen inside the damaged shopping mall. Picture: Alamy

It comes as Boris Johnson reportedly hopes to visit Ukraine's capital to support Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Security officials were said to be "having kittens" at the idea but Mr Johnson "wants to go" if a plan can be put together, the Daily Mail said.

"If you set aside the security concerns, which are considerable, the question is whether there is anything additional you could achieve by visiting in person, or whether it would just be a show of solidarity, and whether that is a sufficient goal in itself," a source told the paper.

The Prime Ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia visited Kyiv last week.

The latest intelligence updated from the UK's Ministry of Defence said: "Heavy fighting continues north of Kyiv.

"Russian forces advancing on the city from the north-east have stalled.

"Forces advancing from the direction of Hostomel to the north-west have been repulsed by fierce Ukrainian resistance.

"The bulk of Russian forces remain more than 25 kilometres from the centre of the city.

"Despite the continued lack of progress, Kyiv remains Russia's primary military objective and they are likely to prioritise attempting to encircle the city over the coming weeks."

Firefighters put out the fire at the wreckage of a damaged shopping mall
Firefighters put out the fire at the wreckage of a damaged shopping mall. Picture: Alamy

Meanwhile, in the south-east city of Mariupol, Ukraine has rejected an ultimatum from Russia for soldiers to put down their weapons by the early hours of Monday.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchu said: "There can be no question of any surrender, laying down of arms.

"We have already informed the Russian side about this."