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13 killed, 50 hurt in Russian missile strike on busy Ukraine shopping mall

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Firefighters and rescue services search for survivors at a shopping center in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, on Monday. Local officials said 13 people were killed and 50 injured in the attack. Photo by State Emergency Service of Ukraine
Firefighters and rescue services search for survivors at a shopping center in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, on Monday. Local officials said 13 people were killed and 50 injured in the attack. Photo by State Emergency Service of Ukraine

June 27 (UPI) -- At least 13 people were killed and dozens more were injured after a Russian missile hit a shopping center in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk Monday, local authorities confirmed.

Twenty-one people were hospitalized, including six in serious condition, while 29 others were treated for less serious injuries, Poltava regional administration chief Dmytro Lunin wrote in a Telegram post.

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More than 1,000 people could have been inside when the building was attacked, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

"The occupiers fired rockets at the mall, where there were more than a thousand civilians. The mall is on fire, rescuers are fighting the fire, the number of victims is impossible to imagine," the Ukrainian leader wrote on his official Telegram account.

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"No danger to the Russian army. No strategic value. Only the attempt of people to live a normal life, which so angers the occupiers. Russia continues to place its powerlessness on ordinary citizens. It is useless to hope for adequacy and humanity on her part."

The post was accompanied by a video showing burning buildings alongside fire crews and people running outside the shopping center.

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"The Russian state has become the largest terrorist organization in the world," Zelensky said in an evening video update. "That is a fact. And this must be a legal fact."

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He declared that "buying or transporting Russian oil, maintaining ties with Russian banks, paying taxes and duties to the Russian state is giving money to terrorists."

The attack was widely condemned by world leaders and the United Nations.

UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric called the shopping mall strike "utterly deplorable."

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"Any sort of civilian infrastructure, which includes obviously shopping malls, and civilians, should never ever be targeted," he told reporters.

This comes a day after Russia began launching missiles at the Ukrainian capitol Kyiv, for the first time in weeks.

Fighting in the country continues into its fifth month after President Vladimir Putin announced Sunday he will transfer nuclear-capable missiles to ally Belarus.

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Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram Russian forces have launched rockets "into houses and kindergartens," sending four victims to the hospital including a 7-year-old girl who was pulled from the rubble.

"Loss of life, injury, destruction of homes across Ukraine, wreak havoc in the lives of individuals, families, communities," UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Osnat Lubrani tweeted on Sunday. "Civilians must be protected wherever they are."

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