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Russian Embassy in Ireland denies country targeted Ukraine shopping centre in strike

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Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney strongly condemned the attack. Photo: Frank McGrath

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney strongly condemned the attack. Photo: Frank McGrath

A shopping centre destroyed after a rocket attack in Kremenchuk. Photo: AP/Efrem Lukatsky

A shopping centre destroyed after a rocket attack in Kremenchuk. Photo: AP/Efrem Lukatsky

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Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney strongly condemned the attack. Photo: Frank McGrath

Officials from the Russian embassy in Ireland have denied their country targeted a crowded shopping centre in central Ukraine in a mis sile strike.

At least 18 people were killed when two missiles hit the shopping centre in Kremenchuk which authorities said had some 1,000 people ins ide on Monday.

French president Emmanuel Macron yesterday denounced the attack as a “new war crime”.

As rescuers combed through the charred remains of the shopping centre, the Russian Embassy in Dublin issued a statement in which it denied targeting it. It also claimed the centre as “non-functioning”.

It claimed “Russian Aerospace Forces” carried out a “high-precision” strike on “hangars which stored weapons and ammunition received by the Ukrainian military from the United States and European countries, in the area of the Kremenchug vehicle plant”.

"The detonation of stored ammunition caused a fire in a non-functioning shopping centre located next to the plant.”

Local woman Kateryna Romashyna told reporters on the ground in Kremenchuk that she had just arrived at the centre when an explosion knocked her down. When another blast came about 10 minutes later, she realised she needed to get away.

“I ran away from the epicentre with all of my strength,” she said. Fighting back tears, she added: “You have to be a real monster” to strike a shopping centre.

Many of those inside quickly fled the building when an air raid siren sounded and took shelter across the street, Ukrainian interior minister Denis Monastyrsky said.

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Several of the bodies of those who did not make it out in time are burned beyond recognition and their identification could take days, he said.

In addition to the 18 killed, authorities said 59 were wounded. Another 21 people are still missing, Mr Monastyrsky said.

In a statement to the Irish Independent last night, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: “I strongly condemn Russia’s attack on the Kremenchuk shopping centre. Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are unlawful and unjustified.

 Russia must comply with its obligations under international humanitarian law and immediately end this war of aggression.”

The shopping centre  attack appears to form part of an aggressive Russian strategy of deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure .

Over the recent days Russian missiles have hit several civilian sites lying hundreds of kilometres from Ukraine’s main battlegrounds, including an apartment block in Kyiv.

The statement from the Russian Embassy in Dublin is the latest in a series denying atrocities which have been widely verified by EU officials and media outlets on the ground in Ukraine.

There have been calls for the Irish Government to expel Russian diplomats, including Ambassador Yuri Filatov.


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