NewsWorldRussia bombs a busy shopping mall in Ukraine, sparking...

Russia bombs a busy shopping mall in Ukraine, sparking fears of mass casualties

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G7 meeting discusses Russia’s war in Ukraine 2:57 (CNN) — A Russian airstrike hit a busy shopping mall in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, on Monday, setting the building ablaze and raising fears of mass casualties.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said up to 1,000 people were in the mall when it was hit by missiles, adding: “The number of victims is impossible to imagine.” Later on Monday, the head of the military administration of the Poltava region, Dmytro Lunin, said that 10 people had been killed and 40 wounded in the attack. “We don’t know how many more people may be under the rubble,” said Volodymyr Solohub, an official with the local administration of the Poltava region. Video from the scene showed a large plume of smoke rising from the building, which was engulfed in flames. The mall is about one hectare and the attack occurred around 4:00 p.m. local time, Solohub said. The attack targeted a location in central Ukraine, far from the epicenter of Russia’s war, which has recently focused on the east of the country. Footage showed fire and smoke billowing from the building. The event came as G7 leaders were meeting at a summit in Germany aimed primarily at coordinating the Western response to the Russian invasion. Russia has been gaining ground in eastern Ukraine in recent days, capturing the city of Severodonetsk after weeks of fighting and gaining territory south of Lysychansk. Russia has eliminated most of the Ukrainian defenses in the Luhansk region and has consolidated control of a belt of territory in the south, providing strategic advantages and reducing the effectiveness of Ukrainian counterattacks. Russian forces have also stepped up attacks in the Donetsk region, moving slightly closer to the region’s belt of industrial cities that stretches south from Sloviansk through Kramatorsk to Kostiantynivka. The G7 pledged to continue supporting Ukraine “for as long as necessary” in a joint statement at their summit on Monday. The United States is scheduled to announce this week the purchase of an advanced medium- and long-range surface-to-air missile defense system for Ukraine, a source familiar with the announcement told CNN. “Zelensky was very focused on trying to ensure that Ukraine is in as advantageous a position as possible on the battlefield in the coming months, rather than the next few years, because he believes that an all-out conflict is not in the interest of the Ukrainian people,” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said after Ukraine’s president met with leaders virtually. Earlier, a source familiar with the matter told CNN that Zelensky told leaders that he wanted the war to end by the end of the year, before winter came. Tim Lister contributed to this report.

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