Photo Credit: Office of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky / Telegram
Central Ukrainian Kremenchuk shopping center ablaze after Russian missile attack, June 27, 2022

A Russian missile strike scored a direct hit Monday on the Kremenchuk Shopping Mall. The central Ukraine industrial city of Kremenchuck is the home to the country’s largest oil refinery.

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More than a thousand civilians were inside the mall when the two missiles struck, according to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky.

“The mall is on fire, firefighters are trying to extinguish the fire – the number of victims is impossible to imagine,” Zelensky said in a Telegram post.

Initial reports indicated at least two people were killed and 20 others were injured but both of those figures are expected to rise, Zelensky’s office said.

“Doctors, rescuers and law enforcement officers are currently working on the scene. The number of victims is being clarified,” head of the Poltava Regional Military Administration Dmytro Lunin said in a Telegram post.

Zelensky noted that the shopping mall posed no threat to Russian forces.

“The place did not pose a threat to the Russian army,” he said. “It was not of strategic importance. People jus wanted to live a normal life, which is very annoying to the occupiers. Out of helplessness, the Russians continue to harm ordinary people. They cannot be expected to be human or sensible.”

According to Kremenchuk Mayor Vitaly Maltsky, the shopping center was “crowded” at the time of the attack.

Zelensky was scheduled Monday to address US President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders in a video address to their summit in Germany.

The White House is soon expected to announce the purchase of an advanced missile defense system for Ukraine, sources said Monday.

The advanced medium-to-long-range surface-to-air missile defense system is reportedly being added to artillery ammunition and counter-battery radar, Reuters reported.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.