Updates: the death toll as a result of the attack rose to 18 after publishing the article which led to new calculations. The mistake in calculations was also fixed.

Epicenter, Ukraine’s biggest network of 72 construction malls across the country, will pay one million to families whose relatives died in the mall during a Russian strike in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The company will also cover the expenses for funerals of the dead, Epicenter PR director Yuliia Chudnovets wrote in her post on Facebook.

For families of the dead with children before 18, Epitsentr will provide aid to Hr. 10,000 ($250) per child per month until they reach the age of 18. Full medical care will be provided to all victims, with expenses for treatment and rehabilitation compensated. 

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It is hard to calculate the overall aid amount yet, Chudnovets told Kyiv Post in an exclusive comment. “Now we are only clarifying the final information about the dead, the law enforcement officials still need to identify 4-5 individuals”, she told Kyiv Post. 

The latest data on the death toll counts at 18, according to Interfax-Ukraine. Chudnovets told Kyiv Post at the time of the publication there are 4-5 other dead that should be identified, so the number is not final.

Epicenter also does not have final information about the families of the dead to estimate how many children will need financial aid until they reach 18, the same can be said about the overall situation how severe the diagnoses of the wounded is. “People are currently busy with funerals”, she added. 

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13 people are currently staying in the hospitals for treatment, according to the data Epicenter provided to Kyiv Post. 

Even rough estimates already form an overall aid amount of more than Hr. 18 million, but the amount is not final. The payments would not feel huge for the company – the aid counts as less than 0.03% of the company’s gross revenues in 2023 or 0.6% of the company’s net income in 2023, based on the company’s financial statements.

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A Russian strike on Saturday hit a store in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on the 25th of May. 

According to the Epicenter administration, an air alert was issued before the strike, but there was insufficient time to evacuate before two strikes hit the central part of the building.

Kharkiv is located 40 kilometers away from the Russian border that allows Russia to hit the city’s infrastructure. The air raid sirens are issued often, and Epicenter clients may find it difficult to quickly leave the building right after the air raid siren is on. 

Chudnovets told Kyiv Post they cannot force people to leave the store since it is against the law, which may cause some people to stay thinking the danger will not hurt them this time. 

But the fire had raged over an area of 10,000 square metres (108,000 square feet) – one cannot leave a place as enormous as this fast. “We do not close exits and entrances completely during the air raid sirens, so that our clients will have the opportunity to leave”, Chudnovets explained to Kyiv Post. 

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This is the seventh Epicenter construction mall destroyed by Russian missiles. Previously, malls in Bucha, Mariupol, Nikopol and Chernigiv were destroyed after Russia’s invasion against Ukraine. Two malls in Kherson were also destroyed. 

Overall, the network counts 2.2 million square meters (23,7 million square feet) of stores and 38,000 employees, according to the company’s website

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