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Ukraine: Russia attacks Kyiv as troops strengthen in the east

KYIV, Ukraine –

The mayor of Kyiv said Russia attacked the Ukrainian capital early on Sunday, attacking at least two residential buildings, the Kyiv mayor said, while elsewhere Russian troops fought to consolidate their interests. their interests in the east of the country.

Associated Press journalists in Kyiv witnessed rescue services battling the blaze and rescuing civilians. The prosecutor’s office said preliminary information indicated one person was killed and four were injured; Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said four people were hospitalized with injuries and a 7-year-old girl was pulled alive from the rubble.

A nearby kindergarten was also damaged, with a crater in its yard.

A member of the Ukrainian Parliament, Oleksiy Goncharenko, wrote on the messaging app Telegram that “according to previous data, 14 rockets were launched into the Kyiv and Kyiv regions.” Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said the missile was a Kh-101 air-launched cruise missile fired from an aircraft over the Caspian Sea.

Regional governor Ihor Taburets said that in the city of Cherkasy, about 160 kilometers southeast of Kyiv, one person was killed and five wounded in attacks by two Russian missiles.

Russia’s early morning air strikes were the first to successfully target the capital since June 5.

Klitschko told journalists he believes “it could be a symbolic attack” ahead of the upcoming NATO summit in Madrid.

Two other explosions were later heard in Kyiv, but their cause and possible casualties were not immediately clear.

US President Joe Biden, as he stood with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to welcome the leaders to the opening of the Group of 7 summit on Sunday, was asked about his response to the latest missile attacks. of Russia into Kyiv, said. “It is their barbarism,” he replied.

Mr. Biden said the United States and other leading G-7 economies intend to announce a ban on gold imports from Russia. They hoped that measure would further isolate Russia economically after the invasion of Ukraine.

Senior Biden administration officials say gold is Moscow’s second-biggest export after energy, and the import ban would make it harder for Russia to enter the global market.

Biden’s Twitter feed said Russia “raised tens of billions of dollars” from its gold sales.

A couple embrace and kiss as they watch smoke billow in the air from residential buildings following the explosion, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, June 26, 2022. Several explosions rocked the side. west of the Ukrainian capital in the early hours of Sunday morning, with at least two incidents According to the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, residential buildings were attacked. (AP Photo / Nariman El-Mofty)

Meanwhile, Russian forces have been fighting to swallow Ukraine’s last remaining stronghold in the eastern region of Luhansk, gaining momentum after taking full control of the city of Sievierodonetsk on Saturday, including a chemical plant where hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians gathered.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai on Sunday said Russia was waging heavy air strikes on the adjoining city of Lysychansk, destroying its TV tower and severely damaging a road bridge.

“There is so much destruction – Lysychansk is almost unrecognizable,” he wrote on Facebook.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said late Saturday that Russian and Moscow-backed separatist forces now control Sievierodonetsk and the villages around it. He said efforts by Ukrainian forces to turn the Azot factory into a “recalcitrant center of resistance” had been thwarted.

Haidai confirmed on Saturday that Sievierodonetsk had fallen into the hands of Russian fighters and separatists, who he said were now trying to blockade Lysychansk from the south.

Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted separatist spokesman Andrei Marochko as saying that Russian troops and separatist fighters had entered Lysychansk and fighting was taking place in the city center. There was no immediate comment on the Ukrainian statement.

Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk are at the heart of Russia’s offensive to capture all of the Donbas and destroy the Ukrainian army defending it – the most capable and combative part of the country’s armed forces.

The capture of Lysychansk would put Russian forces in control of every major settlement in the province, an important step towards Russia’s goal of capturing all of the Donbas. The Russians and the separatists control about half of Donetsk, the second province in the Donbas.

On Saturday, Russia also launched dozens of missiles at several areas across the country far from the center of eastern battles. The Ukrainian Air Force Command said that several missiles were fired from a Russian Tu-22 long-range bomber that was deployed for the first time from Belarus.

The bombardment came before a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, during which Putin announced that Russia plans to supply the Iskander-M missile system to Belarus.

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