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Dozens Missing after Russian Missile Strike on Ukranian Mall Kills 18

Firefighters on Tuesday searched the rubble of a Ukrainian shopping mall where authorities said 36 people were missing after a Russian missile strike that killed at least 18, as a regional governor reported another “enemy attack” further east.

The attack in the central city of Kremenchuk and the reported strike in the Dnipropetrovsk region were far from any frontlines. The mall attack drew a wave of global condemnation, with France’s Emmanuel Macron calling it a “war crime”.

Ukraine said Moscow had killed civilians deliberately in Kremenchuk. Russia said it had struck a nearby arms depot and falsely claimed that the mall was empty.

The governor of Dnipropetrovsk said rescue workers were searching for people under rubble in the region’s main city, Dnipro.

The official, Valentyn Reznychenko, said Russia fired six missiles, three of which were shot down. Railway infrastructure and an industrial enterprise had been destroyed and a services company was burning.

“Mass enemy attack on Dnipropetrovsk region. Six missiles!!!” he wrote on the Telegram app.

Reuters could not independently verify the governor’s account. The Russian Defence Ministry did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.

At a summit in Germany, leaders of the G7 industrialised democracies announced plans for a price cap on Russian oil, designed to starve Russia of the resources for war without exacerbating a global energy crisis.

Next up is a NATO summit in Spain, at which the Western military alliance is expected to announce hundreds of thousands of troops shifting to a higher state of alert and an overhaul of its strategic framework to describe Moscow as an adversary.

Also bound to infuriate Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that Turkey had agreed to support Finland and Sweden joining NATO.

Turkey’s objections to the membership bids, which if successful would be the biggest shift in European security in decades, had threatened to overshadow a summit striving for unity against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Relatives of the missing in Kremenchuk were lined up at a hotel across the street from the wreckage of the shopping centre, where rescue workers had set up a base. Adults and children, some in tears, lit candles and laid flowers in a tribute to the dead.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of deliberately targeting civilians in “one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history”.

Russia’s defence ministry said its missiles had struck a nearby arms depot storing Western weapons, which exploded, causing the blaze that spread to the nearby mall.

Kyiv said there was no military target in the area.

“Russia’s goal is for as many Ukrainians as possible to close their eyes forever, for the rest to stop resisting and submit to slavery,” Andriy Yermak, chief of Ukraine’s presidential staff, said on Twitter.

Russia described the shopping centre as disused and empty. But that was contradicted by the relatives of the dead and missing, and the dozens of wounded survivors such as Ludmyla Mykhailets, 43, who had been shopping there with her husband when the blast threw her into the air.

“I flew head first and splinters hit my body. The whole place was collapsing,” she said at a hospital where she was being treated.

G7 leaders said the attack was “abominable”. Russian President Vladimir Putin and those responsible would be held to account, they said in a statement.

Russia denies intentionally targeting civilians in its “special military operation” that has destroyed Ukrainian cities, killed thousands of people and driven millions from their homes.

Ukraine endured another tough day on the battlefields of the eastern Donbas region following last week’s loss of the now-ruined city of Sievierodonetsk.

Russian forces are now trying to storm Lysychansk, across the Siverskyi Donets River from Sievierodonetsk, to complete their capture of Luhansk, one of two eastern provinces Moscow aims to conquer on behalf of separatist proxies.

Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia, but so far have failed to curtail Moscow’s main source of income: oil and gas export revenue, which has actually increased as the threat of supply disruption has driven up global prices.

At the end of its annual summit, the G7 announced a new approach – leaving Russian oil on the market while imposing a cap on the price countries could pay for it.

“We invite all like-minded countries to consider joining us in our actions,” they said in a communique.

The United States also imposed sanctions on more than 100 new targets and banned new imports of Russian gold, acting on commitments made by the G7.

With summit action now shifting to NATO, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said a new strategic concept would “describe in stark terms the threat that Russia poses and the way in which it has shattered peace in Europe”.

That marks a departure from post-Soviet NATO policy which cast Moscow as a potential partner.

Dmitry Rogozin, a former Russian ambassador to NATO and now head of Russia’s space agency, responded by releasing satellite pictures and coordinates of the summit venue, the Pentagon, White House and other Western state buildings.

“Today, the NATO summit opens in Madrid, at which Western countries will declare Russia their worst enemy,” Rogozin wrote on social media. “Roscosmos publishes satellite photographs of the summit venue and the very ‘decision centres’ that support Ukrainian nationalists.”

There have been increasing Russian missile strikes a long distance from the frontline over the past few days.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city where Russian troops were pushed back in a counter-offensive in May, authorities said nine people were killed by shelling that hit targets including apartment buildings and a school.

from Global – Arise News

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