THE horror of Vladimir Putin’s missile strike on a Ukrainian shopping mall deepened today as relatives posted the names and pictures of those missing in the carnage.
Rescuers worked through the night to find survivors under the rubble as the official death toll rose to 18 in what Ukraine's president called "one of the most daring terrorist attacks in European history".
More than 1,000 people were inside at the time of the rocket attack, President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Another 59 victims said to be getting medical help including 25 who were rushed to hospital after Mad Vlad's men struck the busy mall in Kremenchuky yesterday with using Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bombers.
Russia today admitted firing missiles at premises close to the shopping centre.
The Moscow defence ministry claimed it fired at "hangars with weapons and ammunition received from the United States and European countries".
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"The detonation of stored ammunition caused a fire in a non-functioning shopping centre located next to the territory of the plant," it claimed.
Among those reported as missing in the havoc are Tatyana Brigadirenko, who worked at the Amstor shopping mall.
Her boyfriend Ihor Ivakhnenko is desperately searching for her.
Oksana Poshtarenko, 30, was at work at household appliances store Comfy and has not been seen since.
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Relatives of two more Comfy workers, Yuri Mikitenko and Daniil Sidorov, both in their mid 20s, say they have been out of contact since the strike.
A desperate message reads: “His wife and son are searching for him. He has not been in touch since then.
“Maybe some will recognise him, we hope he is alive.”
Other missing workers include Konstantin Vozniy, who relatives say has tattoos on his left arm and chest, and Nikolay Krychkov.
The husband and mother of Elena Poliakova are also desperately seeking the find their missing loved one.
Sofia Vinnik, 21, was known to have been at work and not heard of since. She has a tattoo ‘Balance’ on her hand.
Shopper Anna Vovnenko is also missing — her mother, with her at the mall, is now in hospital.
A message pleading for information about Anna says that she has a pierced nose.
The feared victims are not answering their mobile phones.
One gut-wrenching message shows a picture but no name and says: “We are looking for mum, 50. She was at her workplace in Amstor. If anybody knows anything, please call….”
Alyona Velichko, 44, went to meet a friend at the mall and is still missing, with relatives unable to get in touch.
Evgeny Gritsai, in her late 20s, is also lost, a relatives say he has a scar on his elbow.
Alexander Protsenko, 36, was at the mall with Yulia Sovenko.
Other feared victims were named as Amstor mall worker Sergey Markovich, and shoppers Vyacheslav Demidov, 23, and Ruslan Mykolenko, 26.
Meanwhile one New York Times reporter recalled seeing people "burned alive" being dragged out of the rubble.
"'People just burned alive,' the interior minister said. I saw a photo of a burned corpse which looked to me that the woman was writhing in agony," they tweeted, claiming three rockets had been fired.
"Everything is still smoking and the air is full of toxic chemicals."
Ukrainian Air Force Command claimed the mall had been with "-22 missiles, launched from the distant Tu-22 M3 bombers".
"The planes of the Russians took off from the Shaikkovka airport, and launches were made from the Kursk region," a post on their Facebook page read.
Harrowing images show emergency workers trying to dig people out of the wreckage and firemen working to put out the flames.
An eerie image shows the head of a mannequin laying on destroyed bit of floor and ships riddled with ash and debris.
US president Joe Biden said: “Russia's attack on civilians at a shopping mall is cruel. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”
He tweeted: “We could have turned a blind eye to Putin’s barbaric war against Ukraine and the price of gas wouldn’t have spiked the way it has, but America rose to the moment.
“We proudly stand with Ukraine.”
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Regional governor Dmytro Lunin denounced the attack as a "war crime" and a "crime against humanity”.
It was a "cynical act of terror against the civilian population".
The UK's Lord Dannatt told Sky News: "Hitting a shopping mall yesterday strikes me like an act of terrorism.
"It was his government who was responsible. He is the head of that government. Okay, I think he's a terrorist."
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