Russian Supermarket Ukraine Strike Deemed “War Crime” By G7 Leaders – G7 leaders attending a meeting in Germany this week condemned a Russian missile strike at 15:50 local time on Monday that hit a packed shopping center in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk. The G7 leaders declared the “abominable” attack a “war crime” in a joint statement.
“Indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime,” the leaders of the world’s seven biggest economies said.
The statement, which was shared by a German government spokesperson on Twitter, said that the leaders “stand united with Ukraine in mourning the innocent victims of this brutal attack.”
The leaders added that Russian President Vladimir Putin and all those responsible for the attack “will be held to account.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also responded to the attack, declaring it one of the “most brazen terrorist acts in European history.”
Missiles struck the Kremenchuk shopping center, in the Poltava region of Ukraine near the Dnieper River, on Monday afternoon while more than 1,000 civilians were inside shopping.
In a Telegram post, Zelenskyy said that the number of victims “is impossible to imagine.” The post was accompanied by video footage showing smoke billowing out of the top of the building.
Serhiy Kruk, the head of the Ukrainian emergency service, said on Monday that 16 people had been confirmed dead and 59 injured.
Supermarket Attack: What’s The Latest?
Shocking video footage from the scene shows the shopping center still smoking well into Monday evening.
Videos revealed how local people came to the scene with tents and cooking equipment to provide food and drink to rescue workers still fighting the fire and pulling victims from the rubble.
This is the scene at the shopping mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine this evening after missiles hit…The @WCKitchen #FoodFighters are continuing to serve firefighters & rescue teams! We setup a dining tent and have hot meals, water & sandwiches. You can see fires still burning… ??? pic.twitter.com/k27YYzXs25
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) June 27, 2022
Rescue workers worked late into Monday night clearing debris and rescuing civilians.
Rescue works and debris clearing will continue all night long at the site of mass murder of peaceful Ukrainians.
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) June 27, 2022
Independent Ukrainian news outlet The Kyiv Independent reported on Monday night that the number of injured civilians had risen to 59.
What Constitutes A War Crime?
The United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect offers a full definition of a “war crime” under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court here.
Under the statute, a war crime is defined as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949. It involved the wilful killing, torture, inhuman treatment, or causing of great suffering of innocent civilians. War crimes also include the “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”
The destruction of a supermarket, therefore, easily fits within the definition of a war crime – unless, of course, Russia claims that the shopping center was a legitimate military target and that the strike was conducted legitimately. It would require, however, that the shopping center was a strategic base for the Ukrainian military or housing weapons and ammunition.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.