(Update 5: adds EU condemnation)
Kyiv, Jun 28 (EFE).- The European Union on Tuesday strongly condemned the Russian missile strike on a crowded shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk that killed at least 18 people and wounded dozens more.
“The EU condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian missile strike on a shopping center in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk,” EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement.
“This is yet another heinous act in a series of attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure by the Russian Armed Forces, including most recently missile attacks on civilian buildings and infrastructure in Kyiv and other regions.
“The continued shelling of civilians and civilian objects is reprehensive and totally unacceptable and amounts to war crime,” he added.
Borrell said that the Kremlin would be held accountable for the attack for which it bore “full responsibility”.
Emergency services chief Sergiy Kruk said at least 18 people had been killed and 59 wounded, 25 of them hospitalized, while some 36 were still missing.
Kruk said the rescue work, debris removal and extinguishing of fires were ongoing after Monday’s Kh-22 anti-ship missile attack on Amstor shopping mall.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that there were over 1,000 civilians inside the shopping center, which held “no strategic value,” when it was struck.
In his latest video message on Tuesday, Zelenskyy called on the United States to label Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism following its attack on civilians.
“This morning I appealed to the United States to recognize Russia as a state that sponsors terrorism. The relevant resolution is approved by the US Senate Committee and the legal decision can be adopted by the Department of State,” the president said.
“Such a decision is clearly needed, and it must be supported by the entire democratic world. I told this to the participants of the G7 Summit, which took place in Germany,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Russian army focuses on taking control of the Luhansk region, directing its attacks against the city of Lysychansk.
“In the Lysychansk direction, in order to inflict losses, the occupiers, in addition to using mortars and artillery, launched air strikes in the areas of Mykolaivka and Yakovlivka,” the latest report of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Facebook on Tuesday.
“The enemy is storming Vovchoyarivka, the southern outskirts of the Lysychansk oil refinery, and fighting continues.”
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai confirmed “large-scale shelling” of the region in a Telegram message Tuesday, saying Russia was “storming Lysychansk from the south and southwest” in order to blockade the city and gain control over transport routes to the neighboring Donetsk region.
He said it was attacking infrastructures such as pumping stations, bridges and a car tunnel, and that fired on a market and shelled neighborhoods.
Russian attacks also continue to affect much of Ukraine, including the Kharkiv region in the northeast.
The Russian strategy seems to remain focused on the control of the eastern fringe of the country, which includes Luhansk and Donetsk (both form the pro-Russian Donbas) to unite it with the south, where Moscow has occupied the Crimean Peninsula since 2014.
The United Nations Security Council will meet Tuesday to address the situation in Ukraine after the latest Russian military attacks. EFE