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Zelensky labels Russian strike on shopping mall ‘terrorist attack’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday called a Russian missile strike on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk earlier in the day before “one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history.”

During a virtual address late in the evening, Zelensky said that Russia hit the shopping mall, which he said was filled with thousands of people before air alarms warned them, saying that many could get out but there were still civilians inside.

“Only totally insane terrorists, who should have no place on earth, can strike missiles at such an object,” he said. “And this is not an off-target missile strike, this is a calculated Russian strike – exactly at this shopping mall.”

Zelensky said he could not establish an official number of victims as the rescue operations continue, but as of the address, he said at least 12 were dead and 24 wounded. He added that doctors in Kyiv have already left for Kremenchuk to provide medical assistance, noting that the Minister of Internal Affairs is already there to coordinate actions.

Zelensky urged the U.S. to recognize Russia “as a state that sponsors terrorism,” adding that the US Senate Committee approves the “relevant resolution.” He said the legal decision needs to be then adopted by the Department of State.

The Ukrainian president said there was an additional shelling in Kharkiv, northern Saltivka, where about five people were killed and more than 30 were wounded, five of them children. He noted that all were civilians.

“The Russian state has become the largest terrorist organization in the world,” he said. “And this is a fact. And this must be a legal fact.”

He added that everyone must know that working with Russia, including buying or transporting Russian oil and maintaining contacts with Russian banks, “means giving money to terrorists.”

Zelensky ended his address by calling for reliable missile defense, which he says they expect soon.

“People in the Kremenchuk shopping mall deserved security just as much as people in any mall in the world — somewhere in Philadelphia or Tel Aviv, or in a shopping gallery somewhere in Dresden,” Zelensky said. “The world can, and therefore must, stop Russian terror.”

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