Russia claims it attacked Kyiv shopping centre because it was being used to store rockets

Russia has claimed a “non-functioning” shopping centre it attacked in Kyiv was being used as a rocket store by Ukrainian forces – as it accused Western media of telling a one-sided version of the conflict.

Moscow has also claimed the Ukrainian authorities are using civilian buildings in residential areas of cities as firing positions.

It said its own attacks were “precision strikes against military infrastructure and never against civilian objects”.

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In drone footage released by Moscow’s defence ministry, what it described as a Ukrainian Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) is seen moving around Kyiv.

Moscow said the “coordinates” of the MLRS’s position were “confirmed by Russian reconnaissance through several channels”.

It used “high-precision long-range weapons”, it said, to “destroy a battery of Ukrainian multiple rocket launchers and a store of ammunition in a non-functioning shopping centre”.

In the early seconds of the footage, the MLRS lets off a volley of shots – the same scene, apparently presented in both black and white and colour.

The MLRS is then followed from the air around the streets of the Ukrainian capital before it arrives at the shopping centre in the densely populated Podil district.

Once there, Russian forces attack it and a huge blast is seen on the video.

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Photographs have been circulating on the internet which appear to show the shopping mall with military vehicles parked underneath. The origin of those photographs is not clear, nor how recent they are.

At least eight people are reported to have been killed in the attack, which also wrecked nearby buildings.

“We saw a number of bodies laid out on the pavement outside the mall,” said Sky News correspondent Alex Crawford.

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Sky News has established that the Twitter account the footage was posted on does belong to Russia’s defence ministry.

It is not clear, however, whether it is the same MLRS all the way through the video.

Sky News is also trying to establish what type of drone was being used.

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Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said he wanted to “draw the attention of the Western media”.

He added: “We have presented absolute evidence of the criminal use by (the) Kiev nationalist regime of civilian objects in residential areas of Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine as firing positions of artillery and rocket systems.”

Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, has accused Moscow of “committing a real act of genocide” and said Russian forces had killed more than 150 children, destroyed more than 400 schools and nurseries and 110 hospitals.

He reiterated calls for NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine and demanded tougher sanctions against Russia to “stop the evil” and “state terrorism”.