Russia not bothered by Sweden and Finland joining NATO, Putin says

An aerial view of debris removal works at a destroyed shopping mall targeted by a Russian missile strike in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, on June 29.
An aerial view of debris removal works at a destroyed shopping mall targeted by a Russian missile strike in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, on June 29. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday denied that Russia was behind a strike on a shopping center in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, that left at least 18 dead and dozens missing and wounded.

“The Russian army does not attack any civilian site. We don’t have the need for this. We have every capability to detect specific locations; and thanks to our high-precision long-range weapons we are achieving our goals,” Putin said, at a news conference following a meeting of the “Caspian five” leaders — Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan — in Ashgabat.

More background: On its Telegram channel, the Russian Defense Ministry earlier said Russian “Aerospace Forces launched a strike with high-precision air-based weapons on hangars with weapons and ammunition received from the United States and European countries,” hitting a plant of “road machines.”

“As a result of a high-precision strike, Western-made weapons and ammunition, concentrated in the storage area for further shipment to the Ukrainian group of troops in Donbas, were hit,” the ministry said.

The ministry blamed “the detonation of stored ammunition for Western weapons” for causing a fire in what it described as a “non-functioning” neighboring shopping mall.

A view of the explosion at the Kremenchuk shopping mall, Ukraine, in this still image taken from handout CCTV footage released on June 28.
A view of the explosion at the Kremenchuk shopping mall, Ukraine, in this still image taken from handout CCTV footage released on June 28. (zelenskiy_official/Instagram/Reuters)

Video from Kremenchuk shows that a shopping mall in the heart of the city was obliterated by one of the two missiles that were fired. Despite an air raid siren, dozens of people were still inside the mall when the missile struck.

It’s unclear what “road machine” plant the Russian Defense Ministry is referring to.

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