Russia says missile hit on weapons depot in Kremenchuk caused fire at shopping center

Rescuers work at a site of a shopping mall hit by a Russian missile strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kremenchuk, in Poltava region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released June 28, 2022. Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) -Russia's defence ministry on Tuesday said it fired missiles against a weapons depot in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, with the subsequent explosion of ammunition triggering a fire in a nearby shopping mall.

At least 16 people were killed on Monday in what Kyiv said was a Russian missile strike against a busy shopping center in Kremenchuk and the G7 called a Russian war crime.

"In Kremenchuk, Russian forces struck a weapons depot storing arms received from the United States and Europe with high-precision air-based weapons. As a result of the precision strike, Western-made weapons and ammunition concentrated in the warehouse ... were hit," Moscow's defence ministry said in a statement posted on its Telegram channel.

"The detonation of stored ammunition for Western weapons caused a fire in a non-functioning shopping center located next to the depot," it added."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the shopping center was hit directly by Russian missiles and around 1,000 people were inside at the time of the strike.

Rescue efforts continued on Tuesday to recover survivors and bodies, with dozens reported injured and hospitalized.

Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilian areas during its four-month offensive against Ukraine. The U.N. says at least 4,700 civilians have been killed since Russia invaded on Feb. 24.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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