At one point, paramedics rushed into the building after rescuers called “200,” meaning they found one or more bodies in the building. Reporters were later pushed away from the scene as air raid sirens wailed again.
UKRAINE WANTS MORE GUNS
As night fell, rescuers brought in lights and generators to continue the search. Concerned family members, some in tears and with their hands over their mouths, lined up at a hotel across the street from the mall where rescue workers had set up a base.
Kiril Zhebolovsky, 24, was looking for his friend Ruslan, 22, who worked in an electronics store and hadn’t heard anything since the blast. “We’ve texted him, called him, but nothing,” he said. He left his name and phone number to emergency workers in case his friend was found.
A mall worker, who gave his name as Roman, 28, told Reuters that only three days ago management at the mall allowed stores to remain open during air raid sirens.
Kremenchuk, an industrial city of 217,000 before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, lies on the Dnipro River in the Poltava region and is the site of Ukraine’s largest oil refinery.
Ukraine’s Air Force Command said the mall was hit by two long-range X-22 missiles fired from Tu-22M3 bombers taking off from Shaykovka Airfield in Russia’s Kaluga Region.
Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, tweeted without providing any evidence that the attack was a “Ukrainian provocation”.
“Exactly what the Kiev regime needs to focus attention on Ukraine ahead of the NATO summit,” he said, referring to the alliance’s meeting in Madrid, which is due to start on Tuesday.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that the upcoming summit will agree on a new aid package for Ukraine in areas “such as secure communications, anti-drone systems and fuel”.
“We need more weapons to protect our people, we need anti-missile defense,” Andriy Yermak, head of the President’s Office, wrote on Twitter after the attack.
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