Day 289: Moscow Shopping Mall Destroyed By Blaze

On Friday, a huge blaze broke out at one of Russia's largest shopping malls in north-west Moscow. Local officials said at least one person was killed after the fire erupted at the MEGA Khimki mall shortly after dawn — it later spread to over 18K square meters.

Day 289: Moscow Shopping Mall Destroyed By Blaze
Image credit: TASS [via The Moscow Times]

Facts

  • On Friday, a huge blaze broke out at one of Russia's largest shopping malls in north-west Moscow. Local officials said at least one person was killed after the fire erupted at the MEGA Khimki mall shortly after dawn — it later spread to over 18K square meters. While a criminal investigation has been launched, there has been no suggestion of links to Ukraine at this stage.
  • However, Ukrainian attacks within Russian territory continued to be reported on Thursday, after an explosion was heard in the border region of Belgorod which later caused a fire at an undisclosed location. An explosion was also heard over Crimea, the Black Sea penninsula, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that a drone was shot down by air defenses before it could reach its intended target.
  • Meanwhile, a new video emerged of Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin, in which he defended Russia's strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure. Some commentators and reports asserted that Putin was "drunk," though this could not be confirmed.
  • In the video, Putin said: "There's a lot of noise right now about our strikes against the energy infrastructure of the neighboring country. Yes, we are doing it, but who started it? Who struck the Crimean bridge? Who blew up the power lines of the Kursk Nuclear Power Station? Who is not providing water to Donetsk?"
  • "No one said a word about it anywhere," Putin continued, adding: "At all. Complete silence. Just as we make a move, do something in response, noise and crackle start over the whole universe. This will not prevent us from completing military objectives."
  • On the ground, Russian attacks continued to be recorded in the regions of Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Kharkiv and Sumy. Ukrainian officials said five civilians were killed and two more were injured in Donetsk, while eight people were injured in Kherson and four were injured in Kharkiv. Pro-Russia officials from the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said one civilian was killed in the same time period.

Sources: Moscow Times, Newsweek, and Ukrinform.

Narratives

  • Anti-Russia narrative, as provided by PBS. This invasion is an egregious violation of international law. Putin's ultimate aim is to restore the Soviet empire, even if it takes massive bloodshed and false pretexts such as calling the 2014 Ukrainian revolution after an election a "coup". This unprovoked attack is the latest chapter in Putin's Orwellian attempt to rewrite history.
  • Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by NSA. NATO and the US have ignored Russia's security concerns by breaking its promise not to expand eastward in return for German reunification. These concerns are legitimate and taking them seriously would have avoided the Ukraine tragedy.

Predictions