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Horrifying video has emerged from Ukraine after Russia targeted a busy shopping centre with several missiles.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed the hit was "not accidental", reporting at least 13 were dead however feared that toll would rapidly grow as desperate authorities tackle the wreckage where more than 1,000 people were believed to be.
Later reports suggest the toll has risen to 16, the BBC reported.
Two Russian missiles slammed into the mall in the city of Kremenchuk, southeast of Kyiv on Monday (local time).
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the attack was "deplorable". Leaders of the Group of Seven major democracies, gathered for their annual summit in Germany, condemned what they called an "abominable" attack.
"We stand united with Ukraine in mourning the innocent victims of this brutal attack," they wrote in a joint statement tweeted by the German government spokesperson. "Russian President Putin and those responsible will be held to account."
According to Ukrainian MP Roman Hryshchuk, Mr Zelensky said it was "impossible to imagine" how many victims there were.
"If this is not a terrorist attack, then what!? If Russia is not a terrorist country, then who are they?" he asked.
Russia has not commented on the strike, which was condemned by the United Nations and Ukraine's Western allies. But its deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, accused Ukraine of using the incident to gain sympathy ahead of a June 28-30 summit of the NATO military alliance.
"One should wait for what our Ministry of Defence will say, but there are too many striking discrepancies already," Polyanskiy wrote on Twitter.
Sharing video of the burning wreckage, The Economist journalist Oliver Carroll described the "horror scenes" at the shopping centre.
Horror scenes in Kremenchuk, as a Russian missile hits a shopping centre. The man speaking on phone : “people were are the building, the walls are starting to fall in” pic.twitter.com/REDBFmuT3R
— Oliver Carroll (@olliecarroll) June 27, 2022
This is how the shopping center looked before the missile strike.
It was the biggest shopping center in Kremenchuk.
Dozens of stores and hundreds of visitors. pic.twitter.com/Zy54hZy69K
— Roman Hryshchuk (@grishchukroma) June 27, 2022
As night fell in Kremenchuk, firefighters and soldiers brought lights and generators to continue the search. Family members, some close to tears and with hands over their mouths, lined up at a hotel across the street where rescue workers had set up a base.
Kiril Zhebolovsky, 24, was looking for his friend, Ruslan, 22, who worked at the Comfy electronics store and had not been heard from since the blast.
"We sent him messages, called, but nothing," he said. He left his name and phone number with the rescue workers in case his friend is found.
More to come.
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