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Putin Has a Problem: Russia’s Shopping Mall Attack in Ukraine Is a War Crime

Putin War in Ukraine
Russian President Putin. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

A Russian cruise missile strike hit a crowded shopping mall in the center of Ukraine on Monday. It was yet another Russian attack on civilian targets with no military value.

Ukraine’s air force said the shopping mall in Kremenchuk was struck at 4 p.m. local time by Kh-22 missiles launched from Tu-22M3 long-range bombers. The KH-22 can carry an explosive warhead weighing up to 1 ton.

There were more than 1,000 people inside the Amstor shopping center at the time of the attack, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. The death toll right now stands at 18, with 59 people wounded and 36 others missing. 

Calling Russia the largest terrorist organization in the world, Zelenskyy condemned the attack. “The number of victims is impossible to imagine,” he added in a post on the Telegram messaging app. Video from the scene showed horrific damage, with large plumes of smoke rising above a building engulfed in flames as people and first responders frantically tried to help the victims.

“No danger to the Russian army. No strategic value. Only the attempt of people to live a normal life, which so angers the occupiers,” Zelenskyy added. “Only totally insane terrorists who have no place on earth would strike such an object.”

Kremenchuk’s mayor, Vitaliy Maletskiy, posted on Facebook, “A rocket attack on Kremenchuk hit a very crowded area, which is 100% certain not to have any links to the armed forces. There are killed and injured people.”

Kremenchuk is a large industrial city in Poltava province of more than 217,000 people, according to a census conducted in 2021. The city was first hit by a missile strike in April. Another attack about two weeks ago targeted a refinery. 

Dmitry Polyansky, Russia’s first deputy to the United Nations, alleged that there were several inconsistencies in Ukraine’s report on the shopping mall, without offering any proof. He said it was a Ukrainian provocation. Russia has frequently reiterated the lie that its military doesn’t target civilians or civilian infrastructure. But the war has given too many examples to count of Russia targeting kindergartens, schools, shopping areas, hospitals, and apartment buildings. 

EU Condemnation Attack in Ukraine

The European Union “in the strongest possible terms” has condemned the strike, characterizing it as a “heinous act.” 

A statement released by the EU in the aftermath of the attack said, “Hundreds of innocent civilians were reportedly present at the center at the time of the attack. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

“Russia bears full responsibility for these acts of aggression and all the destruction and loss of life it causes. It will be held accountable for them.”

The leaders at the G7 conference in Germany, meeting to discuss further sanctions against Russia, also condemned the attack, calling it a war crime. The G7 further pledged $5 billion dollars this year to help ensure food security around the globe, especially among those who were already in a food crisis. 

The food aid is aimed at addressing one of the consequences of the Kremlin’s war. The Russian invasion has stopped the flow of Ukrainian wheat, causing food shortages and price increases across the world. The United States pledged $2.7 billion of the total and will provide direct humanitarian aid to the areas that are most desperate for it. However, the G7 didn’t address how they plan to free Ukrainian grain that is currently bottled up by the Russians. 

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.

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Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 1945, he covers the NFL for PatsFans.com and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.

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