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Russian missile strike hits shopping mall in Ukraine

June 27, 2022

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said more than a thousand people were in the Kremenchuk mall at the time of the attack.

Still from video showing the Kremenchuk shopping mall in flames after the missile strike
Fire brigades are working to extinguish the flames, according to Ukrainian officialsImage: Ukraines President/telegram/Cover-Images/IMAGO
  • Mall in central Ukraine hit by Russian missile strike
  • Zelenskyy appeals to G7 summit for more Russia sanctions
  • US to send advanced air defense system to Ukraine
  • NATO to boost rapid response forces to 300,000
  • Finland, Sweden to discuss NATO bids with Erdogan 

This article was last updated at 22:15 UTC/GMT

This live updates article has been closed. Click here for the latest developments on Russia's war on Ukraine.

G7 leaders condemn 'abominable' strike in Kremenchuk

The leaders of the G7 member states released a statement on Monday evening to "solemnly condemn the abominable attack on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk" that killed at least 10 people.

"Indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime. Russian President [Vladimir] Putin and those responsible will be held to account," the statement said.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is hosting the G7 summit, reaffirmed the "unwavering support" of the group of rich nations for Ukraine earlier in the day.

Eight civilians in Lysychansk killed in strike, governor says

The governor of the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, Serhiy Haidai, said that a Russian strike on Monday in the city of Lysychansk killed eight civilians who were out collecting water.

"Today in Lysychansk, the Russians fired on a crowd of people with Uragan multiple rocket-launchers, as civilians were collecting water from a cistern," Haidai posted in Telegram.

"Eight residents are dead, 21 have been taken to hospital."

Lysychansk has become the most recent target of Russia's push in eastern Ukraine after capturing the nearby town of Sievierodonetsk over the weekend.

Russia expels eight Greek diplomats

Greece's foreign ministry said that there was "no basis for the decision of the Russian authorities" to expel eight Greek diplomats from Russia.

The move from Moscow comes after Athens kicked 12 Russian diplomats out of Greece at the beginning of April, marking the lowest point between the two countries since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Greece has joined in imposing sanctions on Russia as well as sending weapons to Ukraine.

Death toll rises to 10 in Kremenchuk missile strike — local official

The death toll in the Kremenchuk mall missile strike has risen to 10 according to the regional governor, with dozens more injured.

"Ten dead and more than 40 people have been injured. This is currently the situation in Kremenchuk as a result of the missile strike," Poltava oblast governor Dmytro Lunin said, warning that the toll could rise further.

The UN meanwhile has slammed the attack. “It is deplorable, to say the least. Any sort of civilian infrastructure, which includes obviously shopping malls, and civilians should never be targeted,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his outrage in a tweet. "The world is horrified by Russia's missile strike today, which hit a crowded Ukrainian shopping mall," Blink said. "We will continue to support our Ukrainian partners and hold Russia, including those responsible for atrocities, to account."

Russian shelling kills four in Kharkiv — governor

The regional governor of Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine said that shelling had killed four people and wounded another 19.

“Doctors are providing all the necessary assistance. Information on the number of victims is being updated,” Oleh Synehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region posed on Telegram.

Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second-largest city and officials believe attacks targeting the city are an attempt to lure forces away from the Donbas region.

At least two dead, 20 injured: Ukrainian officials

A Russian missile strike on a crowded mall in eastern Ukraine has left at least two people dead and dozens injured according to local officials.

The Ukraine president’s deputy chief of staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram: “Two people died. The rescue operation continues.”

Tymoshenko said that of the wounded, nine were in “serious condition.”

Video footage shared on social media showed flames and smoke billowing out of the shopping mall.

“The missile attack on the shopping center with people in Kremenchuk is another war crime by the Russians,” Poltava oblast governor Dmytro Lunin said.

Shopping center in Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk attacked 

Russian forces have struck a civilian building in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, according to Ukrainian officials.

Dmitry Lunin, who oversees the Poltava region, confirmed that there have been an attack but could provide no further details.

"Unfortunately, there are victims. More details later," Lunin said.

The city’s mayor Vitaliy Meletskiy said on Facebook that there had been a missile strike on a “very crowded” area in the city.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video on Facebook showing a building engulfed in flames and said: "The invaders hit the mall with rockets, where there were more than a thousand civilians."

Zelenskyy said "the number of victims cannot be imagined." 

Pro-Moscow hacking group claims cyber attack on Lithuania

A Russian hacking group has claimed responsibility for a cyber attack on Lithuania, according to Reuters news agency.

Killnet said the DDOS attack on Lithuania was in response to Vilnius’s move to block the movement of goods to Kaliningrad.

“The attack will continue until Lithuania lifts the blockade,” a spokesman for the group told Reuters.

“We have demolished 1652 web resources. And that’s just so far.”

Russian officials threatened to retaliate last week, with foreign ministry spokesperson saying Moscow had the right to defend its national interests if freight traffic was not restored.

Kaliningrad is Russia's westernmost region, or oblast. It is an exclave, meaning it shares no borders with mainland Russia. 

Moldova president says her country is also vulnerable

Moldova's president Maia Sandu said during a visit to Ukraine that her country was "fragile and vulnerable" and needed help to remain "part of the free world".

Four days after European Union leaders decided to accept Ukraine and Moldova as membership candidates, President Sandu visited three towns where Ukraine suspects Russian forces of having committed atrocities against civilians.

"This shouldn't happen. And, you know, it is heartbreaking to see what we see here and to hear the stories," she said in the town of Bucha, outside Kyiv, calling for anyone found guilty of atrocities to be punished.

Sandu also visited the towns of Borodyanka and Irpin, and later began talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

EU leaders accepted Ukraine and Moldova as membership candidates at a summit in Brussels last week, putting both countries on what is likely to be a long road to membership.

Russia equated the decision to "enslaving" its neighboring countries.

NATO to drastically boost rapid response forces over Russia threat

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance plans to massively increase the number of high readiness troops to over 300,000.

NATO's quick reaction force currently has 40,000 troops.

Stoltenberg, who is attending a NATO summit in Madrid later this week, also said he expected the alliance to change its language on Russia in a new strategic concept to be agreed at the gathering.

"I expect that allies will state clearly that Russia poses a direct threat to our security, to our values, to the rules-based international order," he told a press conference.

Stoltenberg described the changes to the rapid response force and other responses to Russian threats as "the biggest overhaul of our collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War."

G7 vows to back Ukraine 'for as long as it takes'

Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies have pledged enduring support Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.

In a statement from their summit taking place in southern Germany, the G7 countries said they would "continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes."

The group voiced "serious concern" over Russia's plans to deliver missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to Belarus.

"We urge Russia to behave responsibly and exercise restraint," the statement said.

G7 leaders also called on Moscow to allow grain shipments to leave Ukraine and to "cease, without condition, its attacks on agricultural and transport infrastructure."

US to send Ukraine air-defense missiles: source

The US is reportedly planning to send anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine to defend against Russian attacks.

A source cited by news agencies said US President Joe Biden "has made the procurement of advanced air defense systems for Ukraine a priority."

The source said an announcement on the purchase of NASAMS, a Norwegian-developed "advanced medium- to long-range surface-to-air missile defense system," was "likely this week."

Other material, such as "additional artillery ammunition and counter-battery radars," was also part of the arrangement, the source was quoted as saying.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to world leaders at a G7 summit on Monday to step up support for Kyiv and intensify sanctions against Russia to help end the war.

Scholz: West won't 'torpedo' G20 over Putin presence

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has indicated that he is open to taking part in the G20 summit later this year, even if Russian President Vladimir Putin also attends.

In an interview with German public broadcaster ZDF, Scholz said the West has no intention to "torpedo'' the group of 20 major economies that also includes Russia.

The G20 summit is due to take place in Indonesia in November. 

The German chancellor said cooperation was important and that the group of major developed and developing economies will continue to play a "big role."   

"We must not walk into the trap Putin sets of asserting that the world is divided into the global West... and all the rest. That's not true. There are democracies all over the world and they have very similar perspectives,'' he said.

Scholz, who is hosting this week's G7 summit in Bavaria, said he would make a final decision about whether to attend the gathering "shortly before departure."

He told leaders on Monday that the G7 "will continue to increase pressure on Putin" over his invasion of Ukraine, adding that "this war has to come to an end."

Zelenskyy wants war over by year's end: diplomats

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appealed to world leaders attending a G7 summit to do everything they can to end Russia's invasion of his country before winter sets in, according to diplomats.

Zelenskyy delivered a closed-door address via video link on the second day of the G7 gathering taking place in the German Alps. 

Diplomatic sources cited by news agencies said he urged leaders to intensify sanctions against Moscow and boost reconstruction aid for Ukraine.

Zelenskyy also asked for anti-aircraft defense systems and security guarantees, according to a European official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Civilians told to 'urgently' evacuate Lysychansk

Regional authorities have urged civilians to leave the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk, which is under attack from Russian forces. 

"Due to the real threat to life and health, we call on you to evacuate urgently," Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

He said the situation there was "very difficult." It is not clear how many of Lysychansk's 100,000 inhabitants remain in the city.

Gaidai said earlier on Monday that Lysychansk was suffering "catastrophic" damage from Russian shelling following the fall of neighboring Sievierodonetsk over the weekend.

G7 to seek price cap on Russian oil

The G7 leaders are planning to announce an agreement to pursue a price cap on Russian oil, according to a US official cited by news agencies.

The cap is part of a new package of measures designed to increase pressure on Moscow, including raising tariffs on Russian goods and imposing new sanctions on hundreds of Russian officials and entities.

"The dual objectives of G7 leaders have been to take direct aim at (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's revenues, particularly through energy, but also to minimize the spillovers and the impact on the G7 economies and the rest of the world," the US official said on the sidelines of the annual G7 summit currently taking place in Germany.

The details of how a price cap would work were to be resolved by G7 finance ministers in the coming weeks and months, the official said.

Finland, Sweden to talk NATO bids with Turkey

The leaders of Finland and Sweden are expected to discuss their plans to join NATO with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday.

A statement from the Finnish presidency said the meeting at the start of an alliance summit in Madrid would also include NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

The statement said the discussions "will be preceded today by a round of talks between Finnish, Swedish and Turkish officials hosted by NATO in Brussels."

Russia's invasion of Ukraine prompted the two Nordic countries to abandon their long-held policy of neutrality and apply to join NATO. But their membership bids have stalled due to opposition from Turkey. 

Ankara accuses Finland and Sweden of sheltering Kurdish terrorist groups banned in Turkey. Both countries deny the charge. 

Zelenskyy to address G7 summit

The conflict in Ukraine is set to dominate the second day of a three-day  G7 summit in Germany's Alps.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to address the meeting via video link.

The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US arrived at the Schloss Elmau resort in Bavaria on Sunday. On the first day of the summit, they announced a ban on imports of Russian gold over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. 

The AP news agency reported that the US was preparing to unveil the purchase of an advanced surface-to-air missile system for Kyiv during Monday's session.    

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was also expected to join the meeting to discuss the food crisis triggered by the war. 

Biggest risk of escalation on NATO's northeastern flank: commander

The new commander of the German military's Operations Command, Bernd Schütt, says the biggest danger of an escalation with Russia lies on NATO's northeastern flank.

"And that's why the point of credible deterrence in this region is a very central point for me," the lieutenant general told Germany's dpa news agency. "This is where the presence of land forces plays a central role."

Schütt said there was a need for the Bundeswehr to "adapt existing structures and procedures," with more drills for national and alliance defense planned for his command.

"We have not yet trained this kind of intensive warfare here," he added.

Fears of an escalation have been growing in the Baltic region amid a dispute over the shipment of Russian goods through NATO member Lithuania to Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad. 

"In the area of the Suwalki Gap, it is only a short jump and the risk of testing NATO's defense will and capability is relatively high," said Schütte, referring to the strategically important corridor that separates Kaliningrad from Belarus and connects the Baltic states to the other NATO members.

"In that space, you can move troops relatively quickly and then make a first strike, for example, using airborne troops," he said, adding that it was crucial to reinforce NATO forces in the region. 

Russia heading towards debt default after deadline expires

Russia is set to default on its foreign debt for the first time since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

Moscow has been unable to pay the $40 billion (€38 billion) in foreign bonds it owes as a result of sweeping sanctions imposed over its war in Ukraine. The measures effectively excluded Russia from the global financial system and froze billions in foreign currency held overseas.

A 30-day grace period on $100 million in interest payments originally due on May 27 expired on Sunday. But it could be some time before a Russian default is confirmed. A default declaration would usually come from rating agencies or be decided by a court.

The Kremlin says any default is artificial because it has the funds to pay bondholders but is blocked from doing so by the sanctions.

The US Treasury Department last month ended Russia's ability to pay its billions in debt to international investors through American banks. Russia's Finance Ministry then said it would pay dollar-denominated debts in rubles.

Odesa region hit by missile strike

Six people have been injured in a missile strike in the southern Ukrainian region of Odesa, according to Ukraine's military.

"The strike in a residential area of civilian settlement destroyed several residential and farm buildings over around 500 square meters," the southern military command said.

It added that the missile was fired from a Russian type Tu-22 strategic bomber.

Regional administration spokesperson Serhiy Bratchuk said that one of the wounded individuals was a child.

The information could not be independently verified. Russia denies targeting civilians.

Over the weekend, Ukraine reported a spike in Russian missile attacks on regions far behind the front line, including Lviv and Kyiv.

Zelenskyy appeals to Belarus not to get drawn into war

In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the people of neighboring Belarus not to be drawn into Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine.

"The Kremlin has already decided everything for you. But you are not slaves and cannon fodder. You don't have to die," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Saturday that Moscow intends to supply nuclear-capable Iskander-M missile systems to Belarus in the coming months.

"I know that the people of Belarus support Ukraine, they support us, definitely us, not the war. And that is why the Russian leadership wants to draw you — all Belarusians — into the war, wants to sow hatred between us," Zelenskyy said.

He called on ordinary Belarusians to refuse to participate in this war. "Your lives belong only to you, not to someone in the Kremlin," the Ukrainian president added.

Zelenskyy also mentioned the numerous Russian rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, and Ukraine's need for a modern air defense.

"Part of the missiles were shot down. But only part. We need a powerful air defense — modern, fully effective. Which can ensure complete protection against these missiles," he said.

According to Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian authorities talk about this every day with their partners. However, he warned that delays in arms transfers to Ukraine and any restrictions are actually an invitation for Russia to keep striking.

UN: Ukraine war could boost illegal drug production

The war in Ukraine could allow illegal drug production to flourish, the United Nations warned on Monday.

Previous experience from the Middle East and Southeast Asia suggests conflict zones can act as a "magnet" for making synthetic drugs, which can be manufactured anywhere, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its annual report.

The UNODC said the number of dismantled amphetamine laboratories in Ukraine rose from 17 in 2019 to 79 in 2020, the highest number of seized laboratories reported in any country in 2020.

Ukraine's capacity to produce synthetic drugs could grow as the war continues, it added.

"You don't have police going around and stopping laboratories" in conflict zones, UNODC expert Angela Me said.

Putin to make first trips abroad since start of invasion

Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to travel to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in the coming days, although the exact dates of the journey remain unclear. 

Putin will first fly to Tajikistan, a military ally, for talks with President Emomali Rakhmon, Russian state television reported.

Putin will then travel on to Turkmenistan to join a summit of the Caspian Sea states. 

The meeting is planned for Wednesday, government spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, according to the TASS news agency. 

This would be the first trip abroad for Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

What happened in Russia's war in Ukraine on Sunday

Russian Federation Council speaker Valentina Matvienko said that Russia is ready to negotiate only if Kyiv accepts Moscow's conditions.

US President Joe Biden told G7 leaders gathered in Germany that the West must remain unified in its response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Pro-Russian separatists said that around 250 more people were evacuated from the Azot chemical factory in Sievierodonetsk after Ukraine relinquished control of the city.

Ukrainian forces attacked an oil platform in the Black Sea, the Tass news agency reported, citing local officials.

Russia's Defense Ministry said Russian forces struck three Ukrainian military training centers in northern and western Ukraine.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Russian troops in Ukraine.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said most Ukrainian forces had withdrawn from their remaining defensive positions in the city of Sievierodonetsk.

Click here to catch up with all of Sunday's major developments regarding the war in Ukraine.

ab,kb,nm,sdi,dh,es/wmr (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)