Scores feared dead after Russian missile hits Ukrainian shopping centre

27 June 2022, 17:14

Ukraine Russia War
Ukraine Russia War. Picture: PA

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 1,000 civilians were inside at the time of the attack in Kremenchuk.

Scores of civilians are feared killed or injured after a Russian missile hit a crowded shopping centre in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, officials said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Telegram post that the number of victims was “unimaginable”, citing reports that more than 1,000 civilians were inside at the time of the attack.

Minutes later, Kyryl Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office, said in a Telegram post that at least two were dead and about 20 were hurt, with nine in serious condition.

Mr Zelenskyy said the target presented “no threat to the Russian army” and had “no strategic value”.

Russia Ukraine War
Firefighters work at a residential building in Kyiv (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

He accused of Russia of sabotaging “people’s attempts to live a normal life, which make the occupiers so angry”.

The strike came the day after Russia attacked the Ukrainian capital Kyiv for the first time in weeks, with missiles striking at least two residential buildings.

Meanwhile, Russia is mounting an all-out assault on the last Ukrainian stronghold in the eastern Luhansk region, “pouring fire” on the city of Lysychansk from the ground and air, the local governor has said.

Serhiy Haidai said Russian forces were pounding Lysychansk after capturing the neighbouring city of Sievierodonetsk in recent days.

It is part of a stepped-up Russian offensive to wrest the broader Donbas region from Ukrainian government control in what western experts say has become the new main goal of President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, now in its fifth month.

“They’re pouring fire on the city both from the air and from the ground. After the takeover of Sievierodonetsk, the enemy army has concentrated all its forces on capturing (our) last stronghold in the Luhansk region: Lysychansk,” Mr Haidai told the Associated Press.

Pictures of the Week-Global-Photo Gallery
A ruined building in Kharkiv (Andrii Marienko/AP)

The Russians are trying to blockade the city from the south, “destroying everything that their artillery and multiple rocket launchers can reach”, he added.

In recent weeks, Russian troops have captured several villages and towns south east of Lysychansk, and are trying to halt access to the city from the south.

To the west, the mayor of the city of Sloviansk — potentially the next major battleground — said Russian forces fired cluster munitions on the city after dawn, including one that hit a residential neighbourhood.

Authorities said the numbers of dead and injured are still to be confirmed.

Ukrainian forces have spent weeks consolidating their defences around Sloviansk out of concern it could be the next big Russian target if Lysychansk falls.

Last week, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Moscow wanted to “capture and completely destroy” Sloviansk.

Russia Ukraine War
Volodymyr Zelensky (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP)

The shockwave from Monday’s blast blew out most windows in the surrounding apartment blocks and the cars parked below, littering the ground with broken glass.

“Everything is now destroyed. We are the only people left living in this part of the building. There is no power,” said local resident Valentina Vitkovska, in tears as she spoke about the blast. “I can’t even call to tell others what had happened to us.”

Mr Zelensky’s office said at least six civilians had been killed and 31 injured as part of intense Russian shelling against various Ukrainian cities over the past 24 hours — including Kyiv and major cities in the country’s south and east.

It said Russian forces fired rockets that killed two people and injured five overnight in and near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and continued to target the key southern port of Odesa. A missile attack destroyed residential buildings and injured six people, including a child, it said.

In Lysychansk, at least five high-rise buildings and the last road bridge were damaged over the past 24 hours, Mr Haidai said. A crucial highway linking the city to government-held territory further south was rendered impassable because of shelling.

Such shelling is making the evacuation of civilians increasingly difficult, Mr Haidai said. The city had a pre-war population of around 100,000, approximately a tenth of whom remain.

Analysts say Lysychansk’s location high on the banks of the Siverskiy Donets river, as well as its large area dotted with hills, give a major advantage to the city’s Ukrainian defenders.

The river encloses Lysychansk from the north and east, while the Ukrainian army continues to hold territory west of the city, which it uses to supply arms and humanitarian aid.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

R Kelly

Opening arguments made as R Kelly faces trial on sex charges

A prison window (Ben Birchall/PA)

Payout for victims of judges who took kickbacks to send children to US prisons

R Kelly

R Kelly trial is about singer’s ‘hidden side’ court told

Venice

Venice mayor outraged at surfers motoring down Grand Canal

Taiwan China

Taiwan and China hold opposing military drills as tensions rise

Georgia election investigation

Giuliani faces grand jury in Georgia 2020 election probe

Royal guard

Norway discharges 30 members of the royal guard for illegal drug use

Kashmir Missing Soldier

Missing Indian soldier’s body found on glacier after 38 years

Spain Wildfires

Ten injured while leaving stopped train near wildfire in Spain

Russia Ukraine War

Ammunition explodes at depot in Crimea

Serbia Kosovo EU

EU to host Serbia-Kosovo talks in Brussels as tension grows

Haruyuki Takahashi

Ex-member of Tokyo Olympics organising committee arrested on bribery suspicions

Thailand violence

Southern Thailand hit by wave of arson and bombings

China Drought

Chinese factories shut down after drought hits power supplies

CPAC Republicans

Sarah Palin reaches Alaskan election’s final round in comeback bid

Natasha Henstridge has paid tribute to her ex-husband

'No words... only love': Darius Danesh's ex-wife shares tribute after his shock death at 41