More than 10,000 square meters went up in smoke after the explosion. A Russian missile hit a shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk on Monday, June 27, killing at least 13 people and injuring at least 40 others. “It is too early to talk about the final death toll,” Poltava region governor Dmytro Lounin warned.

“The missile fire at Kremenchuk hit a busy place that has no connection with the hostilities,” Kremenchuk Mayor Vytaly Maletsky quickly reacted on Facebook.

According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the mall was hit by Kh-22 anti-ship missiles fired from Tu-22 long-range bombers from Russia’s Kursk region. The Ministry of Defense referred to a strike carried out on purpose at a time when the mall was “particularly crowded” in order to “cause maximum casualties”.

“Bareless act of terrorism”

This city in central Ukraine had some 220,000 inhabitants before the war and had so far been spared from bombardment.

“The Russian strike (…) on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk is one of the most brazen acts of terrorism in European history. A peaceful city, an ordinary shopping center [with] inside women, children, ordinary civilians,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced in a video broadcast on Telegram on Monday evening.

According to him, a thousand people were inside the building but “many people managed to get out”.

“Only absolutely insane terrorists could strike such a facility with missiles, and they should have no place on Earth,” Zelensky continued, referring to a “calculated strike.” According to the president, rescue operations were still ongoing on Monday evening and “human casualties could be significant.”

Security Council meeting

On Monday evening, kyiv called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the latest Russian bombings against civilian targets. It will be held Tuesday at 9 p.m. French time, the Albanian presidency of the highest UN body told Agence France-Presse. The missile launch at Kremenchuk “will be the main topic” of this session, an Albanian mission spokesperson said.

Several Western countries strongly condemned the Russian Kremenchuk strike. “This appalling attack has shown once again the depths of cruelty and barbarism into which the Russian leader is ready to fall,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said from the G7. G7 leaders called the Russian missile strike a “war crime” and an “abominable” attack.

US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said the world was “horrified” by the attack, which he described as “the latest in a series of atrocities”. Paris, through the Foreign Ministry, condemned the “appalling violations of international humanitarian law” by Russia, and asserted that Moscow should “account for these acts”.

After this new strike, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmytro Kuleba, reiterated his requests to Ukraine’s allies to provide more heavy weapons to the country and to impose additional sanctions on Russia.