Shopping center bombed in Ukraine: “People were burned alive”

A Russian Strike on a shopping center in Kremenchukin Ukraine, left at least 18 dead and 59 injured, including 25 hospitalized, Monday June 27, 2022.

The Russian army struck “a peaceful town, an ordinary shopping center, with women, children, ordinary civilians inside”, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Kremenchouk is an industrial city which had more than 200,000 inhabitants (as is the case of Rennes in France, for example) before the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24th. It is located 330 km southeast of the capital kyiv, and more than 200 km from the front.

A busy shopping center

More than 1,000 people were inside the Comfy mall during the attack late Monday afternoon, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, as rescuers say “200 to 1,000 people”. The shopping center included a supermarket, clothing stores, mobile phones and cosmetics. It was a very busy place.

A siren sounded minutes before the attack. “When the alarm signal sounded, some were able to leave the building. And even when the rocket hit the mall, others managed to escape”explained Svetlana Rybalko, press officer of the Ukrainian rescue services, to BFM TV. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, two long-range missiles were fired by bombers from Russia.

“I fell with my son in my arms, the explosion was so strong”testified, near France 2 , a woman present in Kremenchuk at the time of impact. Inside the mall, “people were burned alive”lamented the Ukrainian Minister of the Interior, Denys Monastyrsky.

“Are there any survivors? »

A video shared by several media, filmed by a survivor, shows the chaos during the first seconds after the bombardment. “Are there any survivors? » this man yells, before running out of the building, while thick smoke makes the image unclear. There are also flames.

“People were in the building, the walls are starting to crumble”explains a man on the phone, in front of the burning building, in a video shared on Twitter by the correspondent of The Economist in Ukraine.

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A video shared by Emmanuel Macron on Twitter shows the extent of the fire that followed the bombardment. These images are accompanied by the message “The Russian people must see the truth” :

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Valerie Hopkins, correspondent in Ukraine for the New York Timeson site in the evening, explained that ” everything “ was still smoking and « l’air [était] full of toxic chemicals”attaching photos:

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Rescue intervention difficult

A photographer from Reuters said he saw a mall with a charred structure, with the roof collapsed. Firefighters and the military were scrambling Monday night to remove bent metal parts in hopes of extracting survivors. But the very high temperature inside what remained of the shopping center left little hope for the rescuers. Established at 13 dead on Monday evening, the toll rose to 18 dead on Tuesday morning.

Volodymyr Zelensky called this attack one of the “the most shameless acts of terrorism in European history”. For its part, Russia claims to have hit an arms depot causing a fire in the nearby shopping center. Also according to the Kremlin, the shopping center was closed.

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