QFour explosions were heard in kyiv on the morning of Sunday 26 June. A residential complex near the city center of the Ukrainian capital was hit causing a fire and the release of a large cloud of gray smoke. The blasts occurred around 6:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. French time), half an hour after anti-aircraft sirens went off in the capital, which has not been hit by Russian bombing for nearly three weeks.
An Agence France-Presse employee living in the same residential complex heard a loud buzzing preceding the explosions. According to the mayor of kyiv, several explosions took place in the Shevchenkivsky district, going from the center to the northwest of the capital. These strikes were intended to “intimidate the Ukrainians” in the run-up to the NATO summit from June 28 to 30 in Madrid. According to the Ukrainian authorities, one person was found dead and four others were hospitalized.
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Meanwhile, Russia said it struck the Artyom missile production plant in kyiv on Sunday, calling claims it hit the residential area of the Ukrainian capital “fake”. The Russian ministry said the damage to a nearby residential building was due to the fall of a Ukrainian air defense missile. It was not possible to independently verify this claim. These explosions occur a few hours before the opening of the meeting of the leaders of the G7 countries.
A G7 summit in Germany
The leaders of the great powers, including US President Joe Biden, meet from 12 p.m. French time in the Bavarian Alps for the annual summit of the club of seven industrialized countries including Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan , UK and USA. Joe 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, from Tuesday, to Madrid, for a NATO summit. The G7 and NATO must “stay together” against Russian aggression on Ukraine, Joe Biden said before an interview with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday called on G7 leaders not to “give up on Ukraine”, warning of any “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.
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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 must speak Monday by videoconference before the leaders of the seven industrialized countries of the planet, and again demand the dispatch of heavy weapons to counter Russian firepower. “The G7 summit must respond with more sanctions against Russia and more heavy weapons for Ukraine”, urged Dmytro Kouleba, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, on Twitter, calling for “defeating sick imperialism” Russian .
Belarus at the heart of the conflict
The Ukrainian Air Force on Saturday reported a “massive Russian attack […] with more than 50 missiles of several types fired from the air, sea and land” the previous night, pointing out that the X-22, Onyx and Iskander were “extremely difficult” to intercept by Ukrainian devices. And Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country would “in the coming months” deliver to Belarus, from where strikes were carried out against Ukrainian territory, missiles capable of carrying nuclear charges.
It is Iskander-M, said the Russian head of state at the start of a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Saint Petersburg. 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.
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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 seizing, after a fierce battle, the strategic city of Sievierodonetsk and entering the neighboring city of Lyssychansk, in beginning of the fifth month of conflict.
Sievierodonetsk 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 Luhansk region Sergei Gaïdaï confirmed Saturday evening the occupation of Sievierodonetsk, stressing that the city was “90% destroyed”. It will be very difficult to survive it”. According to him, the Russians have appointed a “commander” for this city from which it is only possible to escape “through occupied territories”.
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At the same time, the separatists declared that they had “taken full control of the industrial zone of the Azot factory” in Sievierodonetsk and entered Lysychansk with the Russian military. “Street fights are currently taking place there,” they added, without confirmation from an independent source being immediately obtainable. 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.
“They are just killing us, it’s dangerous everywhere”
“Everyone is suffering. We try to survive,” says Nina, 64, a retiree pushing her bicycle in Seversk, near the front line. “There is no (running) water, no gas, no electricity. We’ve been living under bombs for three months, it’s the Stone Age. “The city is downright dead and we would like to live a little longer,” complains Marina, 63, a retired worker. “They’re just killing us, it’s dangerous everywhere. »
The Russian army says it killed “up to 80 Polish mercenaries” in a bombardment, also destroying twenty armored vehicles and eight Grad multiple rocket launchers in high-precision weapons fire at the Megatex zinc plant in Konstantinovka , in the eastern region of Donetsk. This information was also not verifiable. Moscow frequently claims to “eliminate foreign mercenaries” who have gone to fight in Ukraine.
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In the south, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that “more than 300 Ukrainian servicemen and foreign mercenaries and 35 heavy weapons units” had been “liquidated in one day in the Mykolaiv region”. The operational command of the southern region indicated on the night of Saturday to Sunday that the Russians continued their “defensive actions”, increasing the intensity of the strikes, but “without aiming at new targets”. In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest metropolis, which has resisted pressure from Russian troops since the start of the offensive, missiles are once again falling on the city center daily.