- Russian missiles hit an apartment building in Kyiv
- People are trapped under the rubble, rescue operations are underway
- Ukraine loses a major city to pro-Russian forces
- The G7 countries announced a ban on Russian gold at the beginning of the summit
- Indonesia calls for peace talks
Kyiv/POKROVSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russian missiles struck the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Sunday, a day after a major city in eastern Ukraine fell to pro-Russian forces in a major setback for Ukraine and as world leaders gathered in Europe. To discuss further sanctions against Moscow.
As Europe’s largest territorial conflict since World War II enters its fifth month, the Western alliance supporting Kyiv is beginning to show signs of tension. Britain said on Saturday it believed Ukraine could win but feared it would come under pressure to reach a “bad” peace deal.
The city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said on the messaging app Telegram that Russian missiles hit the Shevchenkivsky district in central Kyiv on Sunday morning, partially destroying a nine-storey apartment building and causing a fire.
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“There are people under the rubble,” Klitschko said. He added that many people have already been taken to hospital.
“They (rescuers) have taken out a seven-year-old girl. She is alive. Now they are trying to save her mother.”
Ukrainian police chief Ihor Klimenko told national television that at least five people were injured.
Life was returning to normal in Kyiv after fierce resistance hampered the Russian advance in the first phase of the war, although sirens sounded regularly throughout the city.
There have been no major hits on Kyiv since June.
Russia denies targeting civilians, but Ukraine and the West accuse Russian forces of war crimes in a conflict that has killed thousands and driven millions to flee Ukraine and devastated cities.
The main battlefield city of Severodonetsk in the east of the country fell to pro-Russian forces on Saturday after Ukrainian forces withdrew, saying there was nothing left to defend in the devastated city after months of fierce fighting.
The fall of Severodonetsk is a major defeat for Kiev as it seeks control of the eastern Donbass region, a major military objective of the Kremlin.
Moscow says the Donbass and Luhansk and Donetsk regions, where it has supported the uprisings since 2014, are independent states. Ukraine demands the ceding of the entire territory of the two provinces to the separatist administrations.
Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, calling it a “special military operation” to ensure Russian security and discredit Ukraine. Kyiv and the West say the invasion was nothing more than Putin’s land grab.
The war had a major impact on the global economy and European security, driving up gas, oil, and food prices, pushing the European Union to reduce dependence on Russian energy and pushing Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he would urge his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to start a dialogue during the peacebuilding mission of the warring nations and would ask Putin to order an immediate ceasefire.
“The war must be stopped and global food supply chains revitalized,” Jokowi, as the president is known, said before leaving for the G7 summit starting Sunday in Germany.
The United Nations has warned that a protracted war in Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, threatens to trigger a global hunger crisis.
In their quest to tighten the screws on Russia, the G7 nations announced a ban on the import of new gold from Russia when their summit in the Bavarian Alps began.
“The measures we announced today will strike directly at the Russian oligarchs and strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
NATO leaders will hold a summit on June 29-30 in Madrid.
“It was terrifying”
The fall of Sievierodonetsk – once home to more than 100,000 people but now a wasteland – changed the battlefield in the east after weeks in which Moscow’s massive advantage in firepower yielded only slow gains.
Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a representative of the pro-Russian separatist fighters as saying that Russian and pro-Russian forces had also entered Lyschansk across the river.
The two cities were the last major cities held by Ukrainian forces in the east.
Zelensky vowed in a video speech on Saturday that Ukraine would take back the cities it lost, including Severodonetsk.
“We have no idea how long that will take, and how much more strikes, losses and efforts will be required before we see victory on the horizon,” he said.
Oleksiy Aristovich, Zelensky’s chief adviser, said some Ukrainian special forces were still in Severodonetsk, directing artillery fire against the Russians. But he did not refer to those forces that carried out any direct resistance. Read more
Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said that on Saturday, Russian forces fired on the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk, where hundreds of civilians were trapped, and also bombed the villages of Pavlograd and Senetsky.
Ukraine and Russia traded accusations of shooting at Azot, with Russian-backed separatists in the area saying evacuations were halted by Ukrainian shelling.
In the Ukrainian-controlled town of Donbass, Elena, an elderly woman from Lysechhansk in a wheelchair, was among dozens of evacuees who arrived by bus from front-line districts.
“Lisechansk, it was terrifying last week. Yesterday we couldn’t stand it anymore,” she said. “I already told my husband if I died, please bury me behind the house.”
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Reporting by Reuters offices. Written by Michael Perry and Alex Richardson; Editing by Edmund Claman and David Clarke
Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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