At one point, paramedics burst into the building after rescuers yelled “200,” meaning they found one or more bodies inside the building. Reporters were later pushed off the scene when the air raid sirens blared again.
UKRANE WANTS MORE WEAPONS
As night fell, rescuers brought lights and generators to continue the search. Concerned relatives, some almost in tears and clapping their mouths, lined up at a hotel across the street from the mall where rescuers had set up a base.
Kiril Zhebolovsky, 24, was looking for his friend, Ruslan, 22, who worked at an electronics store and hadn’t heard from him since the blast. “We messaged him, called him, but nothing,” he said. He left his name and phone number with rescuers in case his friend is found.
A shopping center employee who named Roman, 28, told Reuters that just three days ago, the mall’s management had allowed stores to remain open during air raids.
An industrial town of 217,000 inhabitants before the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Kremenchuk is located 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 by Tu-22M3 bombers flying from Shaykovka airport in Russia’s Kaluga region.
Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, wrote on Twitter, without citing evidence, that the attack was a “Ukrainian provocation.”
“Just what the Kiev regime needs to keep its focus on Ukraine ahead of (the) NATO summit,” he said, referring to the alliance’s meeting in Madrid that will begin on Tuesday.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday 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 missile defense,” Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s office, wrote on Twitter after the attack.