War Crime: Russian Missiles Strike Shopping Mall With 1,000 People Inside
“We sent him messages, called, but nothing.” Ukrainian national Kiril Zhebolovsky spoke these words to Reuters yesterday about his friend who was working in an electronics store in a shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk when two Russian missiles hit the facility. Ukrainian authorities said the missiles were long-range X-22s launched by Tu-22M3 bomber jets from the skies over Russia’s Kursk region.
Dmytro Lunin, governor of the region that includes Kremenchuk, wrote on Telegram that 18 people were confirmed dead from the attack. He said the figure is expected to rise as rescuers continue to clear the rubble. So far 59 people have been counted among the wounded.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cited reports that more than 1,000 people were in the mall at the time of the strike and said, “It is impossible to even imagine the number of victims.”
Videos from the scene showed thick plumes of smoke rising from burning buildings, as emergency crews worked to rescue survivors and locate bodies.
Zelenskyy said the mall posed “no threat to the Russian Army” and had “no strategic value” as a target. He said Russian President Vladimir Putin was targeting “people’s attempts to live a normal life, which make the occupiers so angry.”
The shopping mall strike comes as Russia has stepped up missile strikes across Ukraine in recent days, likely to coincide with the G-7 summit, during which the United States and its partners are planning further support of Ukraine.
The attack is reminiscent of Russian strikes earlier this year that killed numerous Ukrainian civilians, such as the Bucha massacre that killed at least 280, the assault on a Mariupol theater that killed some 600 mostly women and children, and the targeting of a train station in Kramatorsk that killed more than 50 civilians as they tried to flee the area. There was also a March 17 attack on Kharkiv’s Barbashovo market and a missile strike on Kyiv’s Retroville mall three days later that killed eight people.
Russia’s hit list since the full-scale war began on February 24 has also included numerous schools, hospitals, libraries, stadiums and vast residential areas. “It’s a pattern we’ve seen at work for months now,” Kyiv-based analyst Taras Revunets told the Trumpet on June 28. “Russia’s repeated attacks on residential areas in my country certainly do meet my definition of terrorism.”
Zelenskyy agrees with this view. “Russia continues to take out its impotence on ordinary civilians,” he said on June 27, adding that it is “useless to hope for decency and humanity on its part.” Zelenskyy called the strike on the Kremenchuk mall “one of the most daring terrorist acts in European history.”
The president said: “Peaceful city, ordinary shopping center, women inside, children, ordinary civilians. This is not a mistaken hit of missiles. This is a planned Russian strike at this shopping center.”
Russia’s intentional and repeated targeting of civilians is wicked beyond words and means the nation deserves to be designated as a terrorist entity. It is unsettling to talk or even think about these occurrences, and many in America have become fatigued by the news of Russia’s war on Ukraine. But the Bible admonishes us not to turn our faces away from this sort of evil. Isaiah 33:18 says our hearts must “meditate terror.”
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry commented on this passage during a 2013 lecture, stating: “[W]e we can’t just shut it out of our minds and go watch television or read a book or go see some sporting event or whatever if it’s used to escape this. God says, I want you to think about it, and I want you to understand it, and I want you to proclaim it to this world! … He says you’d better meditate on it. You’d better see how bad it really is.”
As much as we would prefer to escape into some form of entertainment and avoid contemplating Russia’s war of aggression, the civilians being slaughtered, and the hundreds of thousands being deported to Russia, we need to meditate on these atrocities. We need to think about the evil and suffering of this world and consider its causes—and consider our lives.
But at the same time, we must also meditate on the Bible’s detailed promises of a new world—a world of lasting peace and prosperity—that is coming soon.
To better understand the need to think deeply about the atrocities in Ukraine, and to learn about the profound hope that is connected to these developments, read “Why You Need to See the Horror in Ukraine” and Mr. Flurry’s free booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’