Several dead after Russian forces attacked a shopping mall in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv

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Surveillance video showed the mall engulfed in flames before emergency crews extinguished them and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a tweet that multiple explosions rocked the neighborhood on Sunday evening. Photo courtesy of State Emergency Services of Ukraine/UPI

March 21 (UPI) — Russian forces targeted a shopping center in the Ukrainian capital of kyiv and the shelling killed several people, Ukrainian authorities said on Monday.

Ukraine’s state emergency service said in a statement that the Retroville shopping mall was attacked on Sunday night and the shelling sparked fires in the parking lot and on four floors of the mall.

Surveillance video showed the mall engulfed in flames before emergency crews extinguished them and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a tweet that multiple explosions rocked the neighborhood.

Officials said Monday that at least eight people were killed in the mall attack.

A Ukrainian who lives next to the mall told US photojournalist Daniel Carde that the mall was used by the Ukrainian military to launch missiles, Carde said in a tweet.

It was not immediately clear whether the victims of the bombardment were civilians or members of the Ukrainian military.

The attack came as Russian forces continued to try to close in on taking kyiv. For weeks, Russian troops shelled areas in and around the capital, but progress was slowed by strong Ukrainian resistance.

The British Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update on Monday that Ukrainian forces managed to prevent Russian forces from reaching central kyiv more than 24 km away.

“Despite the continued lack of progress, Kyiv remains Russia’s primary military objective and they are likely to prioritize the attempt to encircle the city over the coming weeks,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Institute for the Study of War said in a report over the weekend that Russian forces were making limited progress, but it was “highly unlikely that they could achieve their goals in this way.”

“The doctrinally sound Russian response to this situation would be to end this campaign, accept a possibly long operational pause, develop the plan for a new campaign, build up resources for this new campaign and launch it when resources and other conditions will be ready. ,” it says.

“The Russian military has yet to adopt this approach. Instead, it continues to nurture small collections of reinforcements in an ongoing effort to keep the current campaign alive. We believe this effort will fail.”

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Sunday that around 10 million Ukrainians have been forced from their homes to escape the fighting, which is in its fourth week.

The UNHCR also said more than 900 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the start of the Russian invasion – including dozens of children – and around 1,500 have been injured.

Also on Sunday, Ukrainian officials rejected a Russian request to return the port city of Mariupol in return for opening some humanitarian corridors.

Ukrainian officials said dozens of buses would be dispatched on Monday to evacuate more citizens from Mariupol, which has been under Russian attack since March 1. Officials said around 40,000 people had been evacuated from the city over the past week.

Ukrainian service members stand next to a damaged building in a residential area after the bombing of kyiv, Ukraine, March 18. Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko/UPI | License picture

Christi C. Elwood