A Russian missile strike on a crowded mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk killed at least 13 people Monday, the regional governor said, updating an earlier toll.
“The Russian strike today on the shopping centre in Kremenchuk is one of the most brazen terrorist acts in European history,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening broadcast posted on Telegram.
Dmytro Lunin, the governor of the Poltava region where Kremenchuk is located, said the death toll had risen from 10 to at least 13, with more than 40 people wounded.
During the past few days, Russia has scaled up its missile strikes hitting both civilian and military targets all across Ukraine.
The weekend started with an early morning Saturday attack, where dozens of Russian cruise missiles struck military facilities in western and northern Ukraine on June 25, according to local authorities. The missiles came from across the Belarusian border and from the Black Sea, according to reports.
A day earlier, on June 26, Russia launched missiles at Kyiv for the first time in nearly three weeks, hitting a residential building and a kindergarten. The attack killed one person and injured six others, including a seven-year-old child, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
Later on Sunday, Russian missiles also hit an area near Cherkasy in central Ukraine, killing one resident and injuring five others, Cherkasy Oblast Governor Ihor Taburets reported.
As Russia continues to wage war in Ukraine, Zelensky told G7 leaders during a virtual speech that he wants the war to be over by the end of the year, AFP and Le Monde reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Hours before the attack on a Kremenchuk shopping mall, Zelensky reportedly said in his speech that the leaders should help end the war before winter comes and conditions for his troops become tougher. Zelensky urged allies to keep up the pressure and “intensify sanctions” on Russia.
Following the missile strike, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement at the G7 gathering in Munich that the attack once again shows Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s “depth of cruelty and barbarism.”
While emphasizing that Putin “must realize that his behavior will do nothing but strengthen the resolve of the U.K. and every other G7 country to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Johnson reiterated that “our thoughts are with the families of the innocent victims of Ukraine.”
Other Western leaders have also reacted to the latest attack on Kremenchuk, with U.S. President Joe Biden condemning it as “cruel” and French President Emanuel Macron saying that it is “an abomination.”
In his evening address, Zelensky said that the Russian strike on the mall was deliberate, calling it “one of the most daring terrorist acts in European history.”
“The Russian state has become the largest terrorist organization in the world,” the president said.