Deadliest Strike in Weeks Kills 18 in Kharkiv Megastore

( – A May 25 Russian air strike on the Epicenter hypermarket shopping center building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, left 18 people dead and 48 injured.

According to the head of the Kharkiv region military administration, Oleh Syniehubov, five people are still missing following the air strike hitting the shopping center building in Ukraine’s second-largest city. There were an estimated 200 people inside the building when the missile hit.

According to the Chief of the Investigative Department of the Kharkiv Regional Police, Serhii Bolvinov, among those killed were Maria Myronenko, 12, and her mother, Iryna. Her father was injured in the attack.

The video shows the building shaking as the air strike hit and then engulfed in smoke and flames. Photos show the building completely ruined with collapsed walls.

The Epicenter shopping center director Oleksandr Lutsenko said that he was on the second floor in his office when the air strikes hit, adding that “the whole corridor was covered in dust.” He stated that as they left the building, they “could hear the ceiling falling, adding that once outside, he saw “some people were jumping out of the windows.”

Ukraine’s interior minister, Ihor Klymenko, thanked those who helped put the fires out at the building.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the air strike a “brutal attack” and urged Ukraine’s allies to provide it with more air defenses. On May 27, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a $1.08 billion weapons deal for Ukraine aid to help “reinforce air defense systems.” On May 24, the United States also announced a $275 million military assistance package, which Secretary of State Antony Blinken said would “help Ukraine repel Russia’s assault near Kharkiv.

France is also looking at aiding Ukraine in a different way. During a February conference in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned potentially sending military trainers to Ukraine as a way for allies to deploy troops in the country. The idea is under consideration by the French Defense Ministry and Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

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