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OSLO / KYIV (VG) According to Ukrainian authorities, 20 people were killed and 36 are missing after a rocket attack on a shopping center in Krementsjuk on Monday. The president refers to the attack as terrorism.
On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj wrote in a telegram that the Russians had fired rockets at a shopping center in the town of Kremenchuk where more than a thousand civilians were staying.
He also shares a video of what is to be the mall that is on fire.
– The number of victims is impossible to imagine, writes Zelenskyj.
The president says the mall is not a threat to the Russian army and has no strategic value.
– The Russian attack on a shopping center in Krementsjuk is one of the most cheeky terrorist attacks in European history, he says according to AP.
– A peaceful town, a regular shopping mall. Women, children and ordinary people inside the doors. This was not a false bombing, it was a planned Russian attack.
According to Ukrainian authorities, 20 people were killed and 36 are missing, reports NTB.
The industrial city of Krementsjuk is located in Poltava county, and has just over 200,000 inhabitants. The country’s largest oil refinery is located in the city, and is said to have been a target in previous Russian attacks.
The shopping center that is to be hit is apparently over a mile away from the oil refinery.
Russia claims that it was a weapons depot that was attacked in Krementsjuk, and that explosions from there ignited a shopping center that was closed, writes NTB.
The attack hit “a warehouse with weapons and ammunition from the United States and European countries near the car factory in Krementsjuk”, it is stated in an announcement from the Russian defense.
– The explosions from ammunition intended for Western weapons triggered a fire at a nearby shopping center, which was not operational at the time, it is further stated.
Condemns the attack
Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt says in a press release on Tuesday morning that Norway condemns Russia’s arbitrary and deliberate attacks that affect the civilian population and civilian infrastructure.
The leaders of the G7 countries also condemn the attack and call it a war crime.
– Arbitrary attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime. Russian President Vladimir Putin and those responsible must be held accountable, it says in a joint statement from the participants in the G7 meeting at Elmau Castle in the German state of Bavaria, writes NTB.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres also condemns the attack, writes NTB.
“Again, we must emphasize that the parties are subject to international laws to protect civil and civilian infrastructure,” said Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief’s spokesman.
People were sitting under the plane alarm
Across Ukraine, the plane’s alarm went off on Monday as a warning of an incoming attack. But the alarms are imprecise and it is rare that an attack actually takes place in cities far away from the front line.
When the alarm went off in Kyiv on Monday morning, few people cared. People stayed at the outdoor cafes, or continued the working day.
After four months of Russian warfare, it has become a kind of normality in cities that are far from the front line.
At the same time, Russian attacks have escalated in recent days, and on Sunday morning a block of flats and a kindergarten in Kyiv were hit by Russian missiles. At least one person was killed and several others were injured.
When VG was at the scene, the rescue crews worked to search through the apartment block at the same time as the smoke was heavy in the neighborhood.
Ukraine has also attacked Russian targets deep inside Russian-controlled territory.
On Monday, eight civilians were killed in a Russian attack in the city of Lysychansk in the province of Luhansk, according to Governor Serhiy Hajdaj.
– The Russians fired at a crowd with several Uragan rocket launchers. The civilians were fetching water from a cistern, writes Hajdaj on Telegram, according to NTB.