At least 18 people were killed, Dmytro Lunin, the head of the Poltava region military administration, said on Tuesday. He had earlier said the death toll could rise.
“Another 36 people are missing,” he said, adding that more than 1,000 people — including rescuers, police, medics and volunteers — worked through the night. “We continue the search.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said after the strike that up to 1,000 people were in the mall before the air raid was announced.
“Fortunately, as far as we know, at that time, many people managed to get out, they managed to get out, but there were still people inside — workers and some visitors,” he said.
At least 58 people were injured, according to Ukraine’s State Emergency Services, while Lunin said 25 people were admitted to intensive care at the hospital in Kremenchuk.
Video from the scene showed heavy smoke billowing from the building, which was engulfed by fire. The mall measures about one hectare — roughly the size of two football fields — and the strike occurred around 4 p.m. local time, according to Volodymyr Solohub, a regional official in the Poltava Oblast local administration.
“We don’t know how many more people might be under the rubble,” Solohub said.
Zelensky called the strike “one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history,” in his evening video address.
“A peaceful city, an ordinary shopping mall with women inside, children, ordinary civilians inside,” he said.
“Only totally insane terrorists, who should have no place on earth, can strike missiles at such an object. And this is not an off-target missile strike, this is a calculated Russian strike — exactly at this shopping mall.”
The attack targeted a site in central Ukraine far away from the epicenter of Russia’s war, which has recently been focused in the east of the country. Ukrainian officials said the attack was conducted by a Russian KH-22 missile, which is capable of carrying an explosive warhead of up to 1 ton (2,240 pounds).
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said from that meeting that the attack showed the “depths of cruelty and barbarism” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the UK’s PA news agency reported.
“This appalling attack has shown once again the depths of cruelty and barbarism to which the Russian leader will sink,” Johnson said, according to PA.
“As demonstrated at the G7 Summit, the U.S. along with our allies and partners will continue to hold Russia accountable for such atrocities and support Ukraine’s defense,” Biden added.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the attack an “abomination,” in a tweet that included video of the burning shopping mall. “The Russian people have to see the truth,” he said.
And Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmitro Kuleba, said on Twitter: “Russia is a disgrace to humanity and it must face consequences. The response should be more heavy arms for…
Read More News: Russian airstrike hits busy shopping mall in central Ukraine