Ukraine: 18 dead in a Russian strike on a shopping center, “war crime” for the G7
A Russian bombardment killed at least 18 people in a shopping center in Ukraine, according to local authorities on Tuesday, provoking strong condemnation from the G7 countries meeting in Germany, which denounced a “war crime”.
“18 dead… My sincere condolences to the families and loved ones. The rescuers continue to work,” the acting head of the Poltava regional administration Dmitry Lunin said Tuesday morning about the bombing in Kremenchuk, a city 330 km southeast of kyiv, and more than 200 km from the front.
During the night, a previous report from the emergency services reported 16 dead and 59 injured, 25 of whom are hospitalized.
It is “one of the most shameless terrorist acts in European history”, declared Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
It hit “a peaceful town, an ordinary shopping mall, with women, children, ordinary civilians inside,” he said.
A Russian strike also killed eight civilians during the day at a water distribution point in the east, according to kyiv, which called on the G7 to end the war.
“Indiscriminate attacks against innocent civilians constitute a war crime,” the G7 leaders said late in the evening from their summit in southern Germany, in a statement that “solemnly condemns the heinous attack” in Kremenchuk and assures that Vladimir Putin will have to “account”.
French President Emmanuel Macron denounced “absolute horror” and called on the Russian people to “see the truth” in the face.
This “will only strengthen the determination” of Westerners to support Ukraine, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the mall was hit by Kh-22 anti-ship missiles fired by Tu-22 long-range bombers from Russia’s Kursk region.
In New York, UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric recalled that the belligerents were bound by international law to “protect civilians and civilian infrastructure”, judging the new strike “totally deplorable”.
An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the latest Russian bombings against civilian targets in Ukraine is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. GMT, we learned from the Albanian presidency of the UN body.
– “Shot on a crowd” –
A few hours after the announcement of the bombardment of Kremenchuk, the Ukrainian authorities announced another deadly Russian strike against civilians in Lyssychansk, a strategic pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the Donbass basin (east).
In this twin town of Severodonetsk, recently taken by the Russians, at least eight Ukrainian civilians were killed and more than twenty others, including two children, were injured while “collecting water from a cistern”, announced the regional governor of the Lugansk region, Sergei Gaïdaï.
“The Russians fired into a crowd of people with multiple Hurricane rocket launchers,” he said.
Lysytchansk is the last major city left to conquer for the Russians in this province.
“Our defenders hold the line, but the Russians reduce the city to ruins with artillery, aviation… The infrastructure is completely destroyed”, detailed Mr. Gaïdaï.
The conquest of Donbass, already partly held by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, has been the priority objective of the Russians since they evacuated the area around kyiv at the end of March.
New Russian strikes on the large city of Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, also killed five people Monday evening and injured 22, including five children, local authorities said.
– “As long” as it takes –
In an address by videoconference, before the announcement of the Kremenchuk and Lysytchansk attacks, Volodymyr Zelensky told the G7 leaders gathered at Elmau Castle in the Bavarian Alps that it was “not the time for negotiation ” with Moscow and insisted on the “need for full, complete, very operational support for Ukraine”, according to comments reported by the French presidency.
At the same time, the G7 will continue to “increase the pressure on (Vladimir) Putin”, assured German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, host of this summit, in particular through a new round of sanctions targeting the Russian economy.
The West, led by the United States, wants to tighten the noose on Moscow by targeting the Russian defense industry in particular, said a senior White House official, and intend to develop a “mechanism to cap the price globally Russian oil”.
The G7 will also “coordinate to use customs duties on Russian products to help Ukraine”, according to the same source.
– Diplomatic marathon –
Despite the heaviness of the sanctions hitting the Russian economy, the Kremlin assured Monday that there was “no reason” to mention a default of payment from Russia.
The Russian authorities, however, acknowledged that because of the sanctions, two installments had not reached creditors by the deadline on Sunday.
While kyiv continues to demand more arms deliveries, the United States is now considering supplying it with a sophisticated surface-to-air missile system of “medium and long ranges”.
France will send “significant quantities” of armored personnel carriers to Ukraine, announced French Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu on Monday evening.
The leaders of the G7 will end their summit on Tuesday, the day Vladimir Putin must make his first trip abroad since the start of the offensive in Ukraine, in Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia.
The diplomatic marathon of the allies continues Tuesday with the NATO summit in Madrid, an appointment in which Mr. Zelensky must also participate remotely.
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