Russia has attacked the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as G7 leaders meet in Germany to discuss the war
Russia has launched rocket attacks on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv for the first time in weeks as leaders meet in Germany for the G7 summit.
Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko wrote in the Telegram messaging app that “according to preliminary data, 14 rockets were fired at the Kyiv and Kyiv region.”
The attorney general’s office said preliminary information indicated one person was killed and four injured; Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said four people were taken to hospital with injuries and a seven-year-old girl was pulled alive from the rubble.
In the town of Cherkasy, about 100 miles south-east of Kyiv, one person was killed and five injured in attacks by two Russian missiles, regional governor Ihor Taburets said.
Two more explosions were later heard in Kyiv, but their cause and possible victims were not immediately clear.
Prior to the attack, Kyiv had not been subjected to a Russian airstrike since June 5.
Why did Russia target Kyiv again?
Mr Klitschko said he believed it may have been a “symbolic attack” by Russia ahead of this week’s NATO summit in Madrid.
At the NATO summit, leaders of the military alliance’s member states meet to discuss security issues related to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
NATO is an alliance of 30 member states that guarantee each other’s security through a system of collective defense, which means that an attack on one member state is considered an attack on all.
The renewed attacks on Kyiv also coincided with the start of the G7 summit in Germany.
G7 leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden, are meeting at Schloss Elmau in Germany to discuss matters of global concern.
The war in Ukraine is also expected to dominate the G7 summit, although other issues will also be discussed.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his late night video address that Russia “felt compelled to stage such a rocket show” as a war that Moscow expected to last five days entered its fifth month.
He said the war is at a difficult stage “when we know that the enemy will not succeed, when we understand that we can defend our country, but we do not know how long it will take, how many more attacks , losses and there will be efforts before we can see that victory is already on the horizon”.
How is the war in Ukraine going?
Russian troops are attempting to consolidate their gains in the east of the country by engulfing the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the Luhansk region after withdrawing Ukrainian troops from the charred ruins of Sievierodonetsk.
The military said Moscow-backed separatists were now in full control of the chemical plant, which was the last Ukrainian holdover in the city.
Russia fired dozens of rockets at several areas across the country on Saturday, far from the center of the eastern fighting.
Some of the missiles were fired from Russian long-range Tu-22 bombers, deployed from Belarus for the first time, Ukraine’s air command said.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said late Saturday that Russian and Moscow-backed separatist forces now control Sievierodonetsk and surrounding villages.
He said the Ukrainian armed forces’ attempt to turn the Azot plant into a “stubborn center of resistance” had been thwarted.
Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Lugansk province, confirmed on Friday that Ukrainian troops are withdrawing from Sieverodonetsk after weeks of bombing and house-to-house fighting.
On Saturday he said the city had fallen to Russian and Separatist fighters who are now trying to blockade Lysychansk from the south. The city is across the river west of Sievierodonetsk.
The capture of Lysychansk would give Russian forces control of every major settlement in the province, a significant step towards Russia’s goal of conquering all of Donbass. The Russians and separatists control about half of Donetsk, the second province in Donbass.