Zelensky says Russia missiles hit shopping center with over 1,000 civilians inside
Russian missiles struck a Ukrainian shopping center in the central city of Kremenchuk with more than 1,000 civilians inside, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on his Telegram channel Monday.
The latest: Ukraine's State Emergency Services said in a Tuesday Telegram post as rescuers continued to search for survivors that the death toll from the mall shelling had increased to 18 and 59 people were confirmed injured in the attack. Those figures were expected to rise again.
What they're saying: Zelensky said the shopping center is far from the front lines of the battle in eastern Ukraine and would appear to have "no strategic value" to Russia. "The number of victims is impossible to imagine," the Ukrainian president said, noting that rescuers were continuing to fight an enormous blaze.
- G7 leaders issued a joint statement condemning the mall attack. "Indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime," they said.
The big picture: Russia launched over 60 missile strikes across Ukraine over the weekend, including in Kyiv, Lviv, Chernihiv and Odessa, a senior U.S. defense official told reporters Monday.
- The official said the U.S. could not explain Russia's objective for the surge in missile strikes away from the battle in the Donbas region, where the war has been centered over the last two months.
- The strikes could be a Russian response to the G7 and NATO summits in Europe this week or the recent arrival of American HIMARS rocket systems in Ukraine, the official added.
Driving the news: CNN reported Sunday that the U.S. has purchased an advanced air defense system for Ukraine, as Zelensky prepared to meet with President Biden and other G7 leaders to plead for an acceleration in military aid.
- The NASAMS medium-to-long range surface-to-air missile defense system is the same one used to protect the airspace around Washington, D.C.
- White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed to reporters Monday that advanced air defense capabilities will be included in an upcoming aid package, along with "ammunition for artillery and counter-battery radar systems."
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.