Ukraine: Russian strikes on kyiv, before the G7 summit in Germany
Russian missiles hit a residential complex near the center of kyiv on Sunday morning in an attempt to “intimidate Ukrainians”, according to the city’s mayor Vitaly Klitschko, hours before the opening of a G7 summit in Germany where he will be about Ukraine.
Several explosions sounded at dawn in the Ukrainian capital, which had been spared from Russian bombardments since the beginning of June. Arriving on site, an AFP team saw the top three floors of a building on fire and its stairwell completely destroyed, while the police cordoned off the area.
An AFP collaborator living in the same residential complex heard a loud buzzing sound preceding the explosions, a sign that they were missiles.
Four injured, including a 7-year-old girl and her mother, were hospitalized, capital city mayor Vitaly Klitschko said on Telegram, adding that rescue work was continuing.
“A missile was shot down by anti-aircraft defense in the Kyiv region, the debris fell on a village,” Kyiv region governor Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram.
“Our soldiers are doing everything to prevent attacks against our city. But unfortunately we cannot guarantee 100% security in kyiv or elsewhere in Ukraine as long as this aggression continues,” said Mr. Klitschko.
A Ukrainian MP, Oleksiy Goncharenko, claimed on Telegram that the Russians had fired 14 missiles at kyiv and its region in the morning.
At the site of the attack, many residents were at the foot of the buildings, many were in tears.
“There were four missiles from 6:30 a.m.,” testified Edouard Chkouta, living next door. A building “was hit directly on the top floors and I saw with my own eyes injured people coming out,” he said.
“They’ve bombed here three times. I woke up to the first explosion, went to the balcony and saw missiles falling and heard a huge explosion, everything vibrated,” he told AFP. Yuri, a 38-year-old resident.
– ‘Intimidating Ukrainians’ –
At the end of April, another Russian bombardment hit the same residential complex in the capital during a visit by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. A Ukrainian journalist from Radio Liberty was then killed in her apartment.
This time, it is a question of “intimidating the Ukrainians (…) at the approach of the NATO summit”, an organization hated by Russia, declared to journalists Mr. Klitschko who returned to the site.
This Russian strike actually takes place not only a few hours before the G7, but also two days before the Atlantic Alliance summit, which will be held from June 28 to 30 in Madrid.
To begin, the leaders of the great powers, including US President Joe Biden, have an appointment from 10:00 GMT in the Bavarian Alps, for the annual summit of the club of the seven industrialized countries including Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan , UK and USA.
Mr. Biden arrived in Europe on Saturday evening where he intends to further consolidate, and over time, the ranks of Westerners against Moscow.
In addition to the G7 meeting during which aid to Ukraine must be discussed, he must also go to Madrid from Tuesday for a NATO summit.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday called on G7 leaders not to “give up on Ukraine”, warning against “fatigue” in supporting kyiv and announcing additional economic aid of up to $525 million, for bring the total to 1.8 billion.
“Any sign of fatigue or weakening in Western support for Ukraine will work directly in President Putin’s favour,” Downing Street insisted.
And Downing Street also announced that the major powers of the G7, which seek to intensify the pressure on Moscow after four months of invasion of Ukraine, announced on Sunday, on the first day of their summit, their intention to ban imports of gold.
– Five months –
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday evening that he intended to participate in the G7 summit, noting the entry into the conflict in the fifth month. He is due to speak Monday by videoconference to the leaders gathered in Germany and again call for the dispatch of heavy weapons to counter Russian firepower.
“It’s such a stage in the war – morally difficult, emotionally difficult (…). It’s not just the destruction of our infrastructure, it’s also the cynical pressure, calculated on the emotions of the population” , he lamented. But “no Russian missile or bombardment will break the spirit of the Ukrainians”“.
He also pleaded once again for increased Western assistance in armaments and anti-aircraft systems, deeming the sanctions “insufficient”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that his country will “in the coming months” deliver to Belarus, from where strikes have been carried out against Ukrainian territory, missiles capable of carrying nuclear charges.
In statements that risk further straining relations between Moscow and the West, the two leaders also said they wanted to modernize Belarusian aviation to make it capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Attacks were carried out from Belarus at the very beginning of the invasion of Ukraine launched on February 24.
Russian forces achieved major military successes in eastern Ukraine on Saturday, fully capturing, after a fierce battle, the strategic city of Severodonetsk and entering the neighboring city of Lysytchansk, in beginning of the fifth month of conflict.
– Destroyed “90%” –
Severodonetsk is “entirely occupied by the Russians”, thus recognized at the end of the afternoon its mayor Oleksandre Striouk, the day after the announcement by the Ukrainian army of its withdrawal from this city of approximately 100,000 inhabitants before the war. to better defend the locality of Lyssychansk, located on the opposite bank of the Donets River.
The governor of the Lugansk region Sergei Gaïdaï confirmed the occupation of Severodonetsk on Saturday evening, stressing that the city was “destroyed at 90%. It will be very difficult to survive there”. According to him, the Russians have appointed a “commander” for this city from which it is only possible to escape “through occupied territories”.
The pro-Russian separatists meanwhile said they had “taken full control of the industrial zone of the Azot factory” in Severodonetsk and entered Lysychansk with the Russian military.
“Street fights are currently taking place there”, they added, without confirmation from an independent source being able to be obtained immediately.
Crucial progress on the ground for Russia, which wants to conquer the entire industrial basin of Donbass, already partially in the hands of pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
“Everyone is suffering. We are trying to survive,” says Nina, 64, a retiree who pushes her bicycle in Seversk, near the front line. “There’s no (running) water, no gas, no electricity. We’ve been living under bombs for three months, it’s the Stone Age.”
“The city is absolutely dead and we would like to live a little longer,” complains Marina, 63, a retired worker. “They are just killing us, it’s dangerous everywhere.”
In addition, in Kharkiv, in the northeast, the second largest metropolis in Ukraine, which has resisted the pressure of Russian troops since the start of the offensive, the missiles are falling again daily on the city center.
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