Russia says mall hit Kiev because it was stocking missiles

People stand at the site of a bomb attack on a shopping center in Kiev as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, Ukraine, March 21, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) – Russia said Monday it had hit a shopping center in Kiev with high-precision long-range weapons because it was used by Ukrainian forces as a missile storage and reloading station.

The Kiev shopping center was attacked late Sunday, killing at least eight people, destroying nearby buildings, leaving smoking rubble and the twisted wreckage of burned-out cars scattered several hundred meters. read more

“The areas near the mall were used as a large base for storing rocket ammunition and for reloading several rocket launchers,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters.

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“High-precision long-range weapons destroyed a battery of Ukrainian multiple rocket launchers and a stock of ammunition in a non-functioning shopping center on the night of March 21,” he said.

Konashenkov showed video showing, he said, Ukraine had used the mall as a weapons storage and reloading station.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands, displaced 10 million people and raised fears of a wider confrontation between Russia and the United States.

President Vladimir Putin says the “special military operation” in Ukraine is necessary because the United States used Ukraine to threaten Russia. Russia, he said, had to defend itself against Ukraine’s “genocide” of Russian-speaking people.

Ukraine says it is fighting for its existence against a Russian imperialist land grab and Putin’s claims of genocide are nonsense.

The West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia that the Kremlin says amount to an economic war by the United States and its allies. China has called for calm.

Moscow says Western media has presented a one-sided version of the war while ignoring Russian stories.

“We would like to remind the Western media once again: we have provided full evidence that the Kiev nationalist regime has used civilian objects in residential areas of Kiev and in other cities as artillery and missile systems,” Konashenkov said.

Konashenkov said the Russian operation was conducted by professional and well-armed troops and denied Ukrainian claims that Russian forces had hit civilian objects.

He dismissed Ukrainian claims about Russian losses of personnel and equipment as “propaganda lies”.

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Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Conor Humphries

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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