- Russian artillery strikes a building in Kyiv
- People trapped in rubble, rescues underway
- Ukraine loses key city to pro-Russian forces
- Indonesia calls for peace talks to secure world food
- Britain says Ukraine can win, fears ‘bad’ peace deal
KYIV/POKROVSK, June 26 (Reuters) – Russia shelled the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Sunday, a day after a key eastern city fell to pro-Russian forces in a major setback for Ukraine and as world leaders gathered in Europe to further discuss sanctions against Moscow.
As Europe’s biggest ground conflict since World War II entered its fifth month, the Western alliance supporting Kyiv began to show signs of strain and fatigue.
Indonesia on Sunday called on the two sides to negotiate a peace to secure global food supplies and Britain said on Saturday it believed Ukraine could win but feared it would be forced into a ” bad” peace deal.
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Russian artillery struck Kyiv’s central Shevchenkivskiy district on Sunday morning, partially destroying a nine-story building and starting a fire, the city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said on the Telegram messaging app.
“There are people under the rubble,” Klitschko said. He added that several people had already been hospitalized.
“They (the rescuers) pulled out a seven-year-old girl. She is alive. Now they are trying to save her mother.”
Life had returned to normal in Kyiv after fierce resistance that halted Russian advances early in the war, although air raid sirens sounded regularly across the city.
There had been no major strikes in Kyiv since June and before April.
Russia denies targeting civilians, but Ukraine and the West accuse Russian forces of war crimes in a conflict that has killed thousands, sent millions fleeing Ukraine and destroyed cities.
The key eastern battlefield town of Sievierodonetsk fell to pro-Russian forces on Saturday after Ukrainian troops withdrew, saying there was nothing left to defend in the ruined town after months of fierce fighting .
The fall of Sievierodonetsk is a major defeat for Kyiv as it seeks to retain control of the eastern Donbass region, a key military target for the Kremlin.
Moscow says the Donbass provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk, where it has supported uprisings since 2014, are independent countries. He asks Ukraine to cede 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 denazify Ukraine. Kyiv and the West say the invasion was nothing more than a land grab by Putin.
The war had a huge impact on the global economy and European security, driving up gas, oil and food prices, pushing the European Union to reduce its dependence on Russian energy and prompting Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he would urge his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to start a dialogue during a peacebuilding mission to the warring countries and ask Putin to order an immediate ceasefire.
“War must be stopped and global food supply chains must be reactivated,” Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, said before departing to attend a Group of Seven (G7) summit which begins in Germany on Sunday. .
The United Nations has warned that a protracted war in Ukraine, one of the world’s leading grain exporters, threatens to trigger a hunger crisis around the world.
Seeking to tighten the screws on Russia further, U.S. President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders at the summit will agree on a ban on imports of new gold from Russia, Reuters has been told. a source familiar with the matter. Read more
Britain is ready to guarantee an additional $525 million in World Bank loans to Ukraine later this year, bringing total budget support this year to $1.5 billion, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said before the G7 meeting.
“Ukraine can and will win. But they need our support to do so. Now is not the time to give up on Ukraine,” Johnson said in a statement on Saturday.
NATO leaders will hold a summit on June 29-30 in Madrid.
“IT WAS A HORROR”
The fall of Sievierodonetsk – once home to more than 100,000 people but now a wasteland – is transforming the battlefield to the east after weeks in which Moscow’s huge firepower advantage failed. had given only slow gains.
Russian news agency Interfax quoted a representative of pro-Russian separatist fighters as saying Russian and pro-Russian forces also entered Lysychansk from across the river.
Both towns were the last major towns held by Ukrainian forces in the east.
Zelenskiy promised in a video address on Saturday that Ukraine would recover the cities it lost, including Sievierodonetsk.
“We have no idea how long this will last, how many more hits, losses and more efforts will be needed before we see victory looming on the horizon,” he said.
Oleksiy Arestovych, senior adviser to Zelenskiy, said some Ukrainian special forces were still in Sievierodonetsk directing artillery fire at the Russians. But he made no mention of those forces that put up direct resistance. Read more
Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said Russian forces on Saturday fired at the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk where hundreds of civilians were trapped, and also shelled the villages of Pavlograd and Synetsky.
Ukraine and Russia have traded fire accusations over Azot, with Russian-backed separatists in the area claiming evacuations were halted due to Ukrainian shelling.
“Airstrikes were inflicted on the city, as well as on the Bila Gora region. There is a lot of destruction – Lysychansk is almost unrecognizable,” Gaidai said.
In the Ukrainian Donbass city of Pokrovsk, Elena, an elderly Lysychansk woman in a wheelchair, was among dozens of evacuees who arrived by bus from frontline areas.
“Lysychansk was horrible last week. Yesterday we couldn’t take it anymore,” she said. “I already told my husband that if I died, please bury me behind the house.”
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Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Michael Perry; Editing by Edmund Klamann and David Clarke
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.