Hundreds, including children, are feared dead and injured after an afternoon missile strike on a civilian shopping mall in the center of Ukraine, nowhere near the contested Donbas region or anything of strategic importance to Moscow.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 1,000 people were shopping inside the mall at the time of the rocket attack, according to NBC News.
“The number of victims is impossible to imagine,” he said in a post on the messaging app Telegram. A shared video showed a huge cloud of smoke billowing from part of a large building covered in flames.
So far, two people are confirmed killed and at least twenty injured, with nine of those in critical condition. Many more are feared dead as first responders continue fighting to access the building and recover victims.
Zelensky said the shopping center does not represent any strategic value for the Kremlin nor does it present any danger to its forces. “Russia continues to take out its powerlessness on ordinary citizens. It is useless to hope for adequacy and humanity on its part.”
National police chief Igor Klimenko said forensic experts and war crimes investigators are collecting evidence on site.
The strike comes just one day after officials blamed Russia for hitting residential buildings in Kyiv, killing two people.