In a statement by the Kremlin on Tuesday, Russia’s defense ministry bragged about a missile strike that hit a shopping mall and killed over 20 people and injured 60 others–while denying that they specifically targeted the shopping mall in the first place.

The missile strike that hit a shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk on Monday had over a thousand people inside the facility, and an estimated 20 people died as of press time, with the numbers climbing as the Ukrainian government looks for more victims, according to Reuters.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has denounced the attack as “one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history,” with other world leaders joining in their condemnation of Russia for the missile strike’s large loss of life, CNN reported.

“A peaceful city, an ordinary shopping mall with women inside, children, ordinary civilians inside,” Zelenskyy said. “Only totally insane terrorists, who should have no place on earth, can strike missiles at such an object. And this is not an off-target missile strike, this is a calculated Russian strike -- exactly at this shopping mall.”

“Russia's attack on civilians at a shopping mall is cruel. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people,” U.S. President Joe Biden tweeted on Monday. “As demonstrated at the G7 Summit, the U.S. along with our allies and partners will continue to hold Russia accountable for such atrocities and support Ukraine's defense.”

Igor Konashenkov, a spokesperson for Russia’s Defense Ministry, however, bragged about the success of the missile strike while denying that the shopping mall full of people was targeted, claiming that it had caught fire for being close to a nearby arms depot and refusing to acknowledge the people who were injured or killed, the Daily Beast reported.

“In Kremenchuk, Russian forces struck a weapons depot storing arms received from the United States and Europe with high-precision air-based weapons,” they said in a statement. “The detonation of stored ammunition for Western weapons caused a fire in a non-functioning shopping [center] located next to the depot.”

Russia has been seemingly targeting civilian places in their recent missile strikes, with a residential building in Kyiv being hit on Sunday–and a simultaneous strike on Kharkiv and Lysychansk at the same time as the shopping mall incident.

Russia continues to deny attacking any civilian areas during the war.

A shopping mall in Ukraine was attacked by a Russian missile strike on Monday, reportedly killing 20 people and injuring 60 more, the deaths of which Russia refuses to acknowledge when they took credit for the strike. GENYA SAVILOV/Getty Images.

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