Russian missile strikes mall in Kremenchuck, UNSC meeting to convene on Wednesday

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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will convene later on Wednesday after a Russian missile hit a shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuck on Tuesday.

Russia invaded Ukraine more than four months ago and has been accused of targeting civilians.

The strike killed at least 18 people while 36 more remain unaccounted for.

This latest strike targeting civilian infrastructure is likely to see a loud echo from Security Council member states calling it a likely war crime.

Ukraine, which requested the emergency session, accused Russia of deliberately targeting civilians during the conflict, an allegation Moscow continues to deny.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry rejected claims its forces hit a shopping mall, saying rather that it struck a weapons depot, and that the subsequent explosion of ammunition trigged the fire at the nearby mall.

The UN Secretariat condemned the attack Monday as “utterly deplorable”.

Search for survivors 

Relatives of the missing in Kremenchuk were lined up at a hotel across the street from the wreckage of the shopping centre, where rescue workers had set up a base.

Weary firefighters sat on a kerb after a night battling the blaze and searching for survivors, mostly in vain.

Oleksandr, dousing his face from a water bottle, said his team had worked all night. “We pulled out five bodies. We didn’t find anybody alive,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of deliberately targeting civilians in “one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history”.

-Additional reporting by Reuters