Kremenchuk [Ukraine], June 28 (ANI): Amid the ongoing Ukraine conflict, a Russian missile strike hit a crowded shopping centre in central Ukraine on Monday, killing 16 people.
At least 10 people are missing and 59 people were severely wounded in the deadly strike that took place at a shopping mall near a railway station in the industrial city of Kremenchuk, located in Ukraine's central Poltava region, the New York Times reported.
Condemning the attack, Ukraine's Interior Minister, Denys Monastyrskyi said "People just burned alive," in a statement.
The strike came after Russia, in a sudden escalation, fired more than 65 missiles at Ukraine over the weekend.
Smoke engulfed the surroundings after the missile hit the mall in Kremenchuk as local residents desperately searched for the missing, according to city council officials.
Ukrainian officials said that as many as 1,000 people could have been inside the building at the time of the strike, though the exact number was not clear.
Until Monday, the centre of the city had not been hit -- Russian forces had only hit industrial targets and an oil refinery. The Amstar mall, located in the city's centre, is not far from an industrial facility and is believed to be used to repair tanks, the officials added.
"When they hit infrastructure or factories, we can understand that someone was given the coordinates," Olha Usanova, a deputy mayor of Kremenchuk, said. "This is just destruction of civilians. I have no words for this horror."
Earlier, a strike in the northeastern city of Kharkiv killed five people and wounded 22 on Monday, New York Times reported citing local authorities.
Quoting the head of Ukraine's emergency services, Serhiy Kruk as saying "So far, 16 people had been killed and 59 injured, 25 of whom were hospitalized," the media outlet reported.
The strike had been carried out by a Russian X-22 missile weighing nearly 2,000 pounds and was fired from Russia's Kursk region, near the border, Ukraine's Defense Ministry stated.
Ukrainian media reported that 115 firefighters had managed to put out the massive fire and rescuers were continuing to search through the debris for survivors.
During the ongoing G7 summit that is taking place in Germany, the world leaders called the mall attack a "war crime" in a statement Monday night, as per the reports by New York Times.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine dedicated most of his nightly address on Monday to the strike, calling it "one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history."
"Only totally insane terrorists, who should have no place on earth, can strike missiles at such an object," Zelensky said, adding, "Russia will stop at nothing," he said.
Kremenchuk had a population of almost 220,000 people before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
The previous strikes by Russia have targeted a theatre, a maternity hospital and people waiting in line for bread, a shopping centre being the latest addition.
On February 24, Russia began a military operation in Ukraine.
Nearly 14 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, according to United Nations (UN) estimates and most of those displaced are women and children.
The conflict has left 15.7 million Ukrainians in need of humanitarian support, with some of them lacking access to water and electricity.
Three million children inside Ukraine and over 2.2 million children in refugee-hosting countries are now in need of humanitarian assistance. Almost two out of every three children have been displaced by incessant rocket attacks and fighting between the two nations. (ANI)