KREMENCHUK, UKRAINE (AP) – French President Emmanuel Macron said yesterday that Russia “cannot and should not win” the war in Ukraine, a day after a Russian missile attack on a crowded shopping mall that killed 18 put the conflict’s terrible toll on full view.
Ukrainian and western leaders have denounced the strike as a war crime and a terrorist attack and it drew swift condemnation from the Group of Seven leaders meeting in Europe at the time.
It came during an unusually intense barrage of Russian strikes all across Ukraine, including in the capital of Kyiv, that drew new attention to a war that some fear could fade from the headlines as it drags on.
Speaking at the end of the G-7 summit in Germany, Macron appeared to address that concern, vowing that the seven industrialised democracies would support Ukraine and maintain sanctions against Russia “as long as necessary, and with the necessary intensity”.
“Russia cannot and should not win,” he said, adding that Monday’s attack on the mall was “a new war crime.”
As he spoke, rescuers combed through the charred rubble of the shopping mall in Kremenchuk that authorities said was struck when more than 1,000 afternoon shoppers and workers were inside.
The attack recalled strikes earlier in the war that hit a theatre, a train station, and a hospital.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called it “one of the most daring terrorist attacks in European history”. The G-7 leaders said “indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime”.
At Ukraine’s request, the United Nations (UN) Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting in New York yesterday to discuss the attack.
Striking a defiant note, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would press its offensive until it fulfills its goals, noting that the hostilities could end “before the end of the day” if Ukraine were to meet the Russian demands and orders its troops to surrender.