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Ukrainian representatives have requested a meeting of the UN Security Council Tuesday to discuss the most recent Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian soil that have resulted in several civilian fatalities and several dozen injuries, Anatolii Zlenko, spokesperson for Ukraine’s UN delegation, told CNN Monday.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs will brief the council at the meeting, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET, a UN spokesperson told CNN.
A Russian airstrike struck a bustling shopping mall in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine on Monday, setting the building ablaze and prompting concerns of mass casualties.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said after the strike that up to 1,000 people were in the mall before the air raid was announced.
Dmytro Lunin, the head of the Poltava region military administration, has revised the death toll from Monday’s strike on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk to 15, according to a post on his Telegram channel.
Earlier in the day, when updating the number of fatalities, Lunin indicated it could continue to climb, tweeting, "It is too early to talk about the final number of dead people."
G7 leaders and US President Joe Biden have condemned the attack. Ukrainian officials say at least 58 people were injured.
In a tweet Monday, US President Joe Biden, who’s in Germany attending the G7 summit, condemned a Russian missile attack on a shopping mall in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, writing, “Russia's attack on civilians at a shopping mall is cruel. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”
“As demonstrated at the G7 Summit, the U.S. along with our allies and partners will continue to hold Russia accountable for such atrocities and support Ukraine’s defense,” Biden added.
See the President's tweet:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called a strike on a mall in the city of Kremenchuk “one of the most daring terrorist acts in European history.”
“Peaceful city, ordinary shopping center, women inside, children, ordinary civilians. About 1,000 people were there before the air raid was announced,” Zelensky said in a video address posted on his social media accounts on Monday. “Only wholly reckless terrorists, who have no place on earth, can strike missiles at such an object.”
The Ukrainian president went on to say the attack was deliberate.
“This is not a mistaken hit of missiles. This is a planned Russian strike at this shopping center,” Zelensky said in the video address. “The rescue operation continues, but we must be aware that the losses can be significant.”
The Ukrainian president said doctors had been dispatched from Kyiv to help treat the wounded and sent his condolences to the families of those who had died. He also called on people to follow warnings from the authorities.
“I ask everyone, whenever you hear the siren of the air alarm — please go to the shelter. Necessarily. Don't ignore it,” he said. “Russia will stop at nothing.”
G7 leaders condemned the “abominable” attack on a Ukraine shopping mall in a joint statement on Monday.
“We, the Leaders of the G7, solemnly condemn the abominable attack on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk,” the statement reads.
“Indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime. Russian President Putin and those responsible will be held to account,” it continues.
“We will not rest until Russia ends its cruel and senseless war on Ukraine,” the statement said.
At least 13 people have died so far in the attack, and 58 people have been injured, according to Ukrainian officials.
In a video address posted earlier Monday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said about 1,000 people may have been in the building when it was struck.
Read the full statement:
At least eight people were killed and 42 were wounded when a Russian Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) rocket hit a crowd that was collecting water from a tanker, Serhii Hayday, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said on Monday.
“Today in Lysychansk, when the civilian population was collecting water from a tanker, the Russians aimed at a crowd of people with MLRS 'Hurricane,'" Hayday said. “Eight Lysychansk residents died, 21 people were taken to hospital, and five of them remained in Lysychansk after receiving medical treatment. Sixteen citizens were evacuated to hospitals in other regions.”
CNN was unable to independently verify Hayday’s claims and the Russian government didn’t immediately comment on the incident. Russia has continuously denied targeting civilians despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
The alleged attack happens as Russian forces in the region concentrate their efforts on trying to take Lysychansk, the last remaining city in the Luhansk oblast still under Ukrainian control.
“In addition to storming the city from different sides, they are also destroying it with artillery, aircraft and constant shelling,” Hayday also said on Monday.
Hayday went on to explain that the humanitarian situation was dire, with “many wounded and dead already.”
“We have not been able to bring humanitarian kits for two days in a row because the road along which we were doing this was very heavily shelled,” he said. “We managed to bring the medicines that the doctors asked for [in advance], including anesthesia, to the hospitals because we understood that there would be more and more.”
The head of the Luhansk region military administration also said that Ukrainian forces are putting up fierce resistance in the area, but he added that they are outmanned and outgunned.
“The problem of the Ukrainian military is the same. The Russians have many times more artillery and many times more shells for them. There is an impression that there is an unlimited number of shells,” Hayday explained. “They have creeping, scorched earth tactics, they just destroy everything in their path. After several hours of shelling, assault attempts are being made, and they are beaten off. Again, several hours of shelling again attempt to storm — and so repeatedly.”
“The city is quite complicated, and now a large number of our defenders are just holding the defense, but many times more Russians have been thrown to storm Lysychansk,” he said.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said she would not “bet on Russia” despite Moscow's forces making progress in the east of Ukraine.
“Military experts tell us that the movements of Russia are much slower, less than expected. So Russia is running into more and more trouble,” she told CNN on Monday. “I would not at all bet on Russia. On the contrary ... Ukrainians know what they are fighting for. They are motivated. And the Russians have no clue what they are fighting for because they do not even see any sense in this war.”
Speaking from the G7 Summit in Germany, von der Leyen said Ukraine’s allies remain unified.
“We have unleashed six packages of heavy sanctions against Russia in record time. And indeed, it is not easy for our member states because they have to pay a certain price,” she told CNN. “There is unity in all the actions we have taken.”
“Putin never ever expected the determination, the resolve and the unity of the European Union,” von der Leyen added.
One person died after being taken to a hospital, bringing the death toll from the Krememchuk airstrike up to 11, according to Ukraine’s State Emergency Services.
In addition, 58 other people were injured.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has 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."