A Russian missile strike on a crowded mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk killed at least 16 people, the head of emergency services said early Tuesday, sparking international outrage.
“The Russian strike today on the shopping centre in Kremenchuk is one of the most brazen terrorist acts in European history,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening broadcast posted on Telegram.
Emergency services chief Sergiy Kruk said the main tasks were “rescue work, debris removal and the elimination of fires” following Monday’s strike on the shopping centre.
“As of now, we know of 16 dead and 59 wounded, 25 of them hospitalized. The information is being updated,” Kruk said on Telegram.
“All response groups are working in intense mode,” he said. “The work will go on around the clock.”
“I would like to stress once again: do not neglect air alerts!”
Earlier, Zelensky had said “over a thousand civilians” were in the mall when the missiles struck the city, which had a pre-war population of 220,000 people.
“The mall is on fire; rescuers are fighting the fire. The number of victims is impossible to imagine,” Zelensky wrote on Facebook.
A video he shared showed the mall engulfed in flames, with dozens of rescuers and a fire truck outside.
Emergency services also published images showing firefighters and rescuers trying to clear debris from the smoldering remains of the building.
The Ukrainian defense ministry said the strike was deliberately timed to coincide with the mall’s busiest hours and cause the maximum number of casualties.