Employees killed during evacuation in Russian attack on Kharkiv mall

Rescuers continue searching for victims in the destroyed Epicenter mall in Kharkiv
Rescuers continue searching for victims in the destroyed Epicenter mall in Kharkiv

During a Russian attack on the Epicentr mall in Kharkiv on May 25, several employees were killed while evacuating visitors, according to Oleksandr Lutsenko, the mall's director.

The search for some who are still unaccounted for continues.

Read also: Two UAVs strike Epicenter shopping mall, leading to fire, deaths, and injuries

"Employees were evacuating visitors. Some died during the evacuation, especially those assisted by employees," Lutsenko stated. "Some are still unaccounted for, and rescuers are searching for them."

Rescue teams from the State Emergency Service made it to the center of the mall by the evening of May 26, sifting through the debris and searching for survivors.

One employee, Dmytro, recounted the harrowing moment: "After the first strike, my partner and I dropped to the floor. The second strike caused the roof to begin collapsing. We just crawled toward the light, through soot and flames, dragging others with us towards the warehouse."

Dmytro added, "About 60 staff members were in the store when the attackers struck the Epicenter on a day off."

The Russian attack on the Epicenter mall in Kharkiv on May 25

An explosion rocked Kharkiv at 4:02 p.m. on May 25, with Mayor Ihor Terekhov reporting that the attack targeted a residential area.

Read also: 8-year-old boy gives DNA sample to find missing father after Kharkiv mall attack

The occupiers hit the Epicenter with two guided aerial bombs, sparking a fire that spread over more than 10,000 square meters. About 200 people were in the store.

Rescuers are still sorting through the rubble of the destroyed mall.

Read also: 16 missing after Russian strike on Kharkiv's Epicenter mall

As of the evening of May 26, about 16 people were dead and more than 40 wounded.

Law enforcement identified 11 victims of the Russian attack, including a 12-year-old girl and her mother, the Prosecutor General's Office reported. Seven people are considered missing, according to law enforcement.

May 27 was declared a day of mourning for the dead in Kharkiv.

Read also: Rescuers show photos after Russian overnight drone attack in Vinnytsia Oblast

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine