Conflicts & War

Ukrainian mother’s desperation after mall strike

By Luis Lidon

Kremenchuk, Ukraine, Jun 29 (EFE).- Lyudmila’s hands are trembling as she holds her cell phone to show a photo of her daughter, who worked in the Kremenchuk shopping mall that was hit by a Russian missile strike on Monday.

She has not heard from Tatiana, 22, since then and her suffering, like that of the rest of the relatives of the 21 missing people, is growing by the hour.

The 55-year-old mother is waiting for a response on a bench located near the flower-bedecked memorial set up near the scene, where many citizens come to pay tribute to the victims.

So far, 18 people have died and four others injured, according to official figures. In addition, eight badly charred bodies are yet to be identified by DNA tests.

Many citizens lay flowers or stuffed animals, light a candle and pray for a few seconds in the memorial.

Almost everyone in the city of Kremenchuk, which had a pre-war population of about 220,000, knows someone impacted by the attack.

Lyudmila, meanwhile, clings to hope, which in this case is her cell phone.

She expects to receive a call from the police telling her that her daughter is still alive.

In the past hours, she has visited all the hospitals and funeral homes in the surrounding area.

Lyudmila is crushed with anguish to the point that when she sees her sister-in-law approaching with a bouquet of yellow daisies, she yells: “don’t put those flowers on the memorial because I’m going to find my daughter alive.”

“I wish Russian mothers understood the pain that is felt in such a situation,” she says.

Tatiana was an employee in a mobile accessories store.

Yulia, a friend of Tatiana’s, told her to get out when the anti-aircraft alarm sounded, but she preferred to take advantage of that time to go to the bathroom.

Yulia is hospitalized with burns but Tatiana has been missing since Monday.

The medical staff of the Kremenchuk hospital pointed out Wednesday that they did not have DNA tests and that the samples had to be sent to other cities and the process could take some time.

The missile struck at 3:52 pm after an anti-aircraft alarm sounded and most of the people in the center went out into the street.

But store employees and security personnel remained inside.

The central part of Kremenchuk had never been attacked before, only a refinery and some industrial complex on the outskirts.

Life seemed safe in Kremenchuk before a missile weighing 900 kilograms hit the popular entertainment space.

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