The crowded mall in Kremenchuk had around 1,000 shoppers inside when missiles rained down on the building this afternoon
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Scores of civilians were feared killed or wounded in a Russian missile strike Monday on a crowded shopping mall in Ukraine’s central city of Kremenchuk, Ukrainian officials said.

At least 13 people were dead and more than 40 wounded by two long-range X-22 missiles fired from Tu-22M3 bombers that flew from Shaykovka airfield in Russia’s Kaluga region, said Ukraine’s air force command. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Telegram post that the number of victims was ‘unimaginable,’ citing reports that more than 1,000 civilians were inside at the time of the attack.

‘The Russian strike today on the shopping centre in Kremenchuk is one of the most brazen terrorist acts in European history,’ he said in his evening broadcast posted on Telegram. 

Images from the scene showed giant plumes of black smoke from a shopping center engulfed in flames, as emergency crews rushed in and onlookers watched in distress.

Zelensky said the target presented ‘no threat to the Russian army’ and had ‘no strategic value.’ He accused of Russia of sabotaging ‘people’s attempts to live a normal life, which make the occupiers so angry.’

Boris Johnson condemned Vladimir Putin’s ‘cruelty and barbarism’, speaking on the day Zelensky addressed the G7 summit to urge G7 leaders to supply missile defence systems, and said it would strengthen the resolve of allies to resist Putin.

Mr Johnson said: ‘This appalling attack has shown once again the depths of cruelty and barbarism to which the Russian leader will sink.

‘Once again our thoughts are with the families of innocent victims in Ukraine.

‘Putin must realise that his behaviour will do nothing but strengthen the resolve of the Ukraine and every other G7 country to stand by the Ukraine for as long as it takes.’

Earlier, the Prime Minister said the ‘price of freedom is worth paying’ and the UK must be prepared to support Ukraine’s fight against Russia for as long as it takes despite the cost.

The conflict in Ukraine has added to the rising cost of living by exacerbating turbulence in international energy prices and causing food shortages due to supplies of grain being prevented from leaving the country’s ports by Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

But speaking at the G7 summit in Germany, Mr Johnson said those pressures will start to ease and the long-term economic impact of defending the rules-based system of international conduct will be beneficial to the global economy.

The crowded mall in Kremenchuk had around 1,000 shoppers inside when missiles rained down on the building this afternoon

The crowded mall in Kremenchuk had around 1,000 shoppers inside when missiles rained down on the building this afternoon

Russian missiles have hit a busy shopping centre in the city of Kremenchuk in Ukraine

Russian missiles have hit a busy shopping centre in the city of Kremenchuk in Ukraine

In footage taken from inside the shopping centre, a male voice is heard shouting: ‘Is anyone alive? Anyone alive here?’

If Putin is not resisted, it could give the green light to countries such as China to pursue their own goals of territorial expansion, he suggested.

The UK has so far contributed around £1.5 billion of economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine plus some £1.3 billion of military assistance.

The Prime Minister told the BBC at the summit in the Bavarian Alps: ‘I think that the economic impacts on the UK will start to abate, we’ll find ways around things and some of the cost pressures will start to come down.

‘But just in terms of staying the course, imagine if you didn’t.

‘Imagine if we allowed Putin to get away with the violent acquisition of huge chunks of another country, a sovereign, independent territory, the lessons for that would be absolutely chilling in all of the countries of the former Soviet Union, you can see what’s happening in the Baltic countries already.

‘But the read across would also be felt in east Asia, as well.

‘So, in terms of the economic effects of that, that would mean long-term instability, it would mean anxiety across the world.’

Comparing the situation to the defeat of Nazi Germany, Mr Johnson declined to put a limit on UK support.

‘The point I would make to people is, I think that sometimes the price of freedom is worth paying.

‘And just remember, it took the democracies, in the middle of the last century, a long time to recognise that they had to resist tyranny and aggression. It took them a long time, it was very expensive.

‘But what it bought in the end, with the defeat of the dictators, particularly of Nazi Germany, it bought decades and decades of stability, a world order that relied on a rules-based international system.

‘And that is worth protecting, that is worth defending, that delivers long-term prosperity.’

A rescue operation is under way and nine of the wounded are in a serious condition, said Ukrainian authorities.

A rescue operation is under way and at least nine of the wounded are in a serious condition after emergency services rushed to the scene

A rescue operation is under way and at least nine of the wounded are in a serious condition after emergency services rushed to the scene

Firefighters desperately try to put out the blaze at the shopping mall after the missile strike was carried out in the industrial hub

Firefighters desperately try to put out the blaze at the shopping mall after the missile strike was carried out in the industrial hub

A man is seen running from the burning building after the strike was carried out by Kremlin forces this afternoon, causing a huge fire

A man is seen running from the burning building after the strike was carried out by Kremlin forces this afternoon, causing a huge fire

A man is seen running from the burning building after the strike was carried out by Kremlin forces this afternoon, causing a huge fire

Panicked survivors desperately tried to flee for safety as the complex erupted in fire, with plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.

Putin’s war propagandist Andrey Rudenko has already predictably dismissed the brutal assault as a ‘fake’ operation carried out by Kyiv. Russia previously made the same outlandish claims about the atrocities in Bucha.

Volodymyr Zelensky said on Telegram: ‘It is impossible to even imagine the number of victims.

‘It’s useless to hope for decency and humanity from Russia.’

Zelensky stressed that the target presented ‘no threat to the Russian army’ and had ‘no strategic value’ accusing Russia of sabotaging ‘people’s attempts to live a normal life, which make the occupiers so angry’.

A man filming from outside then says: ‘This is it, the walls are collapsing.’

Dmytro Lunin, head of Poltava regional administration, said: ‘Missile strike on a shopping mall with people in Kremenchuk is yet another military crime by the Russians. A crime against humanity. This is an obvious, cynical act of terror against peaceful civilians. Russia is a terrorist state.

‘Rescuers and policemen are working at the site. The number of victims is impossible to count as of now.’

He said the death toll had risen from 10 to at least 13. 

Andrii Yermak, Head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, said: ‘They said they would be hitting centres of decision making.

‘But even the most sick imagination would not have guessed they mean shopping centres by this.

‘More than a 1000 civilians got wounded.’

Russia has carried out a deadly missile strike on a busy shopping centre in Ukraine in Putin's latest barbaric attack against civilians

Russia has carried out a deadly missile strike on a busy shopping centre in Ukraine in Putin’s latest barbaric attack against civilians

It is just the latest strike carried out by Vladimir Putin's forces against defenceless civilians in Ukraine

It is just the latest strike carried out by Vladimir Putin’s forces against defenceless civilians in Ukraine

Panicked survivors desperately tried to flee for safety as the complex erupted in fire, with plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky

Panicked survivors desperately tried to flee for safety as the complex erupted in fire, with plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky

Putin's propagandist-in-chief Vladimir Solovyov has already predictably dismissed the brutal assault as a 'fake' operation carried out by Kyiv

Putin’s propagandist-in-chief Vladimir Solovyov has already predictably dismissed the brutal assault as a ‘fake’ operation carried out by Kyiv

City mayor Vitaliy Meletskiy said the strike had caused deaths and injuries, but gave no figures.

Kremenchuk is an industrial hub in central Ukraine, situated on the banks of the Dnipro River. 

The city, which had a population of 217,000 before Russia’s invasion, is the site of the country’s biggest oil refinery. 

Russia has claimed that the carnage was a staged ‘fake’ operation, with TV war reporter Andrey Rudenko claiming: ‘These freaks are back to provocations.

‘The shopping mall in Kremenchuk, with allegedly thousands of people inside it. Videos show an empty car park with just a couple of cars.

‘Was this a working shopping centre, there would have been lots of cars. Were there people inside the centre, and were they to be wounded or killed, then there would be no way these cars would be cleared away.

‘There are no women by the shopping centre, though at this time of day shopping centres are filled with females. Yet we see mainly young men of similar age, and no panic.

‘They are all dressed in shorts, they don’t wear T-shirts. There is a feeling of a crowd of ‘extras’, similar to football fans or something like it.

‘Conclusion: there is a sense they set it up themselves, or shot it for a strong pictures. But they didn’t do it properly, again.’

It is just the latest strike carried out by Vladimir Putin’s forces against defenceless civilians in Ukraine, with hospitals, schools and homes destroyed throughout his savage invasion. 

Elsewhere, Russia is continuing to mount an all-out assault on the last Ukrainian stronghold in the eastern Luhansk region, ‘pouring fire’ on the city of Lysychansk from the ground and air, the local governor said today.

Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Russian forces were pummelling Lysychansk after capturing the neighbouring city of Sievierodonetsk in recent days. 

It’s part of a stepped-up Russian offensive to wrest the broader Donbas region from Ukrainian government control in what Western experts say has become the new main goal of President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, now in its fifth month.

Volodymyr Zelensky said 1,000 civilians were in the crowded mall at the time of the strike, with scores feared dead

Volodymyr Zelensky said 1,000 civilians were in the crowded mall at the time of the strike, with scores feared dead

The shopping centre is engulfed in flames after the attack in broad daylight as plumes of black smoke rise from the building

The shopping centre is engulfed in flames after the attack in broad daylight as plumes of black smoke rise from the building

The shopping centre is engulfed in flames after the attack in broad daylight as plumes of black smoke rise from the building

The shopping centre is pictured before the brutal attack carried out by Putin's forces this afternoon

The shopping centre is pictured before the brutal attack carried out by Putin’s forces this afternoon

‘They’re pouring fire on the city both from the air and from the ground. After the takeover of Sevierodonetsk, the enemy army has concentrated all its forces on capturing (our) last stronghold in the Luhansk region: Lysychansk,’ Haidai told The Associated Press.

The Russians were trying to blockade the city from the south, ‘destroying everything that their artillery and multiple rocket launchers can reach,’ Haidai said. 

In recent weeks, Russian troops have captured several villages and towns southeast of Lysychansk, and were trying to halt access to the city from the south.

Meanwhile to the west, the mayor of the city of Sloviansk – potentially the next major battleground – said Russian forces fired cluster munitions on the city after dawn, including one that hit a residential neighbourhood.

Authorities say the number of dead and injured are still to be confirmed. The AP saw one fatality: A man’s body lay hunched over a car door frame, his blood pooling onto the ground from scattered chest and head wounds.

Ukraine forces have spent weeks consolidating their defences around Sloviansk out of concern that it could be the next big Russian target if Lysychansk falls.

Last week, Zelensky said Russia wanted to ‘capture and completely destroy’ Sloviansk.

Kremenchuk is an industrial hub in central Ukraine, situated on the banks of the Dnipro River

Kremenchuk is an industrial hub in central Ukraine, situated on the banks of the Dnipro River

Zelensky said in a Telegram post that the number of victims was "unimaginable," citing reports that more than 1,000 civilians were inside at the time of the attack

Zelensky said in a Telegram post that the number of victims was ‘unimaginable,’ citing reports that more than 1,000 civilians were inside at the time of the attack

Zelensky stressed that the target presented 'no threat to the Russian army' and had 'no strategic value'

Zelensky stressed that the target presented ‘no threat to the Russian army’ and had ‘no strategic value’

The shockwave from Monday’s blast blew out most windows in the surrounding apartment blocks and the cars parked below, littering the ground with broken glass.

‘Everything is now destroyed. We are the only people left living in this part of the building. There is no power,’ said local resident Valentina Vitkovska, in tears as she spoke about the blast. ‘I can’t even call to tell others what had happened to us.’

Overall, Zelenskyy office said at least six civilians were killed and 31 others injured as part of intense Russian shelling against various Ukrainian cities over the past 24 hours – including Kyiv and major cities in the country’s south and east.

It said Russian forces fired rockets that killed two people and injured five overnight in and near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and continued to target the key southern port of Odesa. 

A missile attack destroyed residential buildings and injured six people, including a child, it said.

In Lysychansk, at least five high-rise buildings in the city and the last road bridge were damaged over the past day, Haidai, the governor, said. 

A crucial highway linking the city to government-held territory further south was rendered impassable because of shelling.

Such shelling is also making the evacuation of civilians increasingly difficult, Haidai said. The city had a pre-war population of around 100,000, approximately one-tenth of whom remain.

Analysts say that Lysychansk’s location high on the banks of the Siverskiy Donets river, as well as its large area dotted with hills, give a major advantage to the city’s Ukrainian defenders.

‘It’s a very hard nut to crack. The Russians could spend many months and much effort storming Lysychansk,’ said military analyst Oleh Zhdanov.

The Siverskiy Donets river encloses Lysychansk from the north and east, while the Ukrainian army continues to hold territory west of the city, which it uses to supply arms and humanitarian aid.

The news came after Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence said Ukrainian troops had destroyed a Russian Pantsir anti-aircraft system in a series of strikes on the island on Sunday night. 

Ukraine's Ministry of Defence said Ukrainian troops had destroyed a Russian Pantsir anti-aircraft system in the strike

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence said Ukrainian troops had destroyed a Russian Pantsir anti-aircraft system in the strike

Snake Island is seen in an aerial photo on June 17 before Ukraine carried out a series of strikes on the strategic outpost

Snake Island is seen in an aerial photo on June 17 before Ukraine carried out a series of strikes on the strategic outpost

By June 20, Ukraine had caused serious damage, with satellite imagery showing devastated regions

By June 20, Ukraine had caused serious damage, with satellite imagery showing devastated regions

Ukraine’s southern operational command aimed strikes on the island less than a week before, with satellite images showing the major losses to Kremlin troops. 

The Russian Pantsir anti-aircraft system, a radar station and vehicles had been damaged in the June 20 attack on the island which has been a major battleground throughout the war. 

It is just the latest blow for Putin, as it emerged that a column of Russian rocket launcher vehicles were blown to pieces in an ambush by Ukrainian special armed forces. 

Footage shows Ukrainian troops opening fire and destroying six BM-27 Uragans, a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher, as well as other Russian vehicles such as armoured personnel carriers. 

In a further blow to Putin, an invading Russian tank was obliterated in a minefield. Video shows the tank driving through the field before hitting a mine, causing a large explosion.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence released footage showing a series of strikes on the Russian-occupied Snake Island, adding that ‘the cleaning of our land will continue as long as is needed’.

The 100-acre Snake Island outpost has proved to be a valuable strategic position for both sides, sitting some 80 miles off Ukraine’s southern coastline in the Black Sea.

Footage shows Ukrainian troops opening fire and destroying six BM-27 Uragans, a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher, as well as other Russian vehicles such as armoured personnel carriers.

Footage shows Ukrainian troops opening fire and destroying six BM-27 Uragans, a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher, as well as other Russian vehicles such as armoured personnel carriers.

Russia seized the island early in the war and has largely managed to maintain control of it, but its forces there have been subject to bombing raids ever since. 

‘Another strike of the Ukrainian Army on the Russian troops on Snake Island,’ Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence said. 

‘The occupiers lost an anti-aircraft system Pantsir. The cleaning of our land will continue as long as needed.’ 

Unofficial claims say Kyiv forces used US-supplied HIMARS missiles, although this was not confirmed. 

Ukrainian military spokeswoman Natalia Humeniuk said: ‘We continue a [military] operation on Snake Island.

‘Last night more than 10 accurate strikes were launched on the island.

‘We are checking the results now, but we have already been informed that one more Pantsir-S1 air defense missile gun system was hit.’

In February, Ukrainian border guard Roman Hrybov on Snake Island famously radioed ‘Russian warship, go f*** yourself’ to Russian officers aboard the Moskva.

Hrybov and his crew were thought dead after the Moskva bombarded the island with artillery fire, but they miraculously survived and were given awards upon being returned to Ukrainian soil in a prisoner transfer last month. 

The latest strike on the Snake Island, comes as footage shows a column of Russian rocket launchers being destroyed in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

It is just the latest blow for Putin, as it emerged that a column of Russian rocket launcher vehicles were blown to pieces in an ambush by Ukrainian special armed forces

It is just the latest blow for Putin, as it emerged that a column of Russian rocket launcher vehicles were blown to pieces in an ambush by Ukrainian special armed forces

Footage shows the Russian vehicles being destroyed in the Ukrainian strikes

Footage shows the Russian vehicles being destroyed in the Ukrainian strikes

The latest strike on the Snake Island, comes as footage shows a column of Russian rocket launchers being destroyed in Ukraine's Donetsk region

The latest strike on the Snake Island, comes as footage shows a column of Russian rocket launchers being destroyed in Ukraine’s Donetsk region

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