Ukraine, Russian direct attack on civilians in a shopping center

The shopping center in Kremenchuk after the attack. The shopping center in Kremenchuk after the attack. 2022 Giorgi Gogia/Human Rights Watch

30 June 2022

There are currently investigations about the recent Russian attack on civilians in a commercial mall in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine.

On the 27 of June, Russian forces launched a missile on a shopping center in Kremenchuk, a city situated in central Ukraine in the Poltava Oblast. According to the local authorities and based on the current situation, the attacks killed at least 18 civilians and wounded many others; at the present time there are also 36 people missing. About the attack, a representative of the Russian Defense Ministry assumed that the shopping complex was closed when the strike occurred; the statement is clearly untrue, and more than 1000 civilians, shoppers, and staff, were inside the building while the missile was launched. 

Concerning the tragic event, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that is “one of the most daring terrorist attacks in European history”. Also, Dmytro Lunin, governor of the central Poltava region described the attack as an “act of terrorism against civilians”; to make things even worsen, is the fact that it seems there was no military target nearby, and that the shopping centre had no strategic value. For this reason, the international community is investigating the event as it is a potential war crime, and as such, it should be evaluated by the International Criminal Court and other investigative bodies, as Yulia Gorbunova, senior Ukraine researcher at Human Rights Watch said. 

In the meantime, rescue workers and humanitarian operators are working tirelessly to find survivors; currently, it is difficult to estimate how many people could still be trapped in the rubble, and often also the recognition of dead people is complicated due to wounds. One thing that is certain is that the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas is considered unlawful and indiscriminate.

 

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by Alexia Tenneriello

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