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Almost two dozen Ukrainians still missing after Russia hits Kremenchuk mall

Almost two dozen people were still missing Tuesday one day after a Russian airstrike struck a Ukrainian shopping mall and killed 18 civilians inside.

Exhausted firefighters sifted through rubble seeking at least 21 people after the devastating attack on the central city of Kremenchuk.

On top of the 18 dead and 21 people missing, Ukrainian Interior Minster Denis Monastyrsky said 59 were injured. Several of the dead were burned beyond recognition.

“There was a black tunnel, smoke, fire,” an employee of the mall told the AP from his hospital bed.

“I started to crawl. I saw that sun up there, and my brain was telling me I need to save myself.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said the bombing was “one of the most daring terrorist attacks in European history.”

Ukraine accused Moscow of purposely targeting civilians. Russia claimed that the strike hit an arms depot and insisted the mall was empty.

The tragic incident left 18 dead and 21 people missing.
Sipa USA via AP
shopping mall in Kremenchuk.
Ukrainian workers remove rubble at the Amstor shopping mall in Kremenchuk.
Sipa USA via AP

“I ran away from the epicenter with all of my strength,” said local resident Kateryna Romashyna, who arrived at the mall when an explosion knocked her down.

She added: “You have to be a real monster,” to strike a shopping mall.

Desperate relatives of the missing lined up at a hotel across from the wreckage as first responders sat on a curb after a grueling night of fighting blazes and looking for survivors.

Ukraine’s prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova said the missile attack was one of Russia’s “crimes against humanity,” warning Ukrainians they need to be ready for similar attacks “every minute.”

Ukraine shopping mall
Russia claimed that the strike hit an arms depot and the mall was empty.
AP/Efrem Lukatsky
shopping mall in Kremenchuk.
The charred goods in a grocery store of the destroyed Amstor mall.
AFP via Getty Images

Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the missiles fired precision-guided to strike a depot that had Western weapons and ammunition, which then detonated and sparked a fire at the mall.

Ukrainian officials said that, in addition to the mall, a factory was hit, but denied weapons were in it.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia would continue its offensive until Ukraine gave up the territory sought by Moscow. He said the fighting could stop “before the end of the day” if Ukraine surrendered.

shopping mall in Kremenchuk
The attack happened after Russia renewed missile strikes against Kyiv.
Sipa USA via AP

The mall attack comes days after Russia renewed missile strikes against Kyiv for the first time in weeks as leaders from some of the world’s most powerful democracies gathered for the G7 Summit in Germany.

With Post wires

File source

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