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Explosions rock Kyiv as Russia takes control of Sievierodonetsk



Explosions rocked Kyiv Sunday morning, a day after a flurry of missiles struck targets across Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russian troops “fully occupied” the key industrial hub of Sievierodonetsk thus controlling the entire city. Follow our live updates for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time, GMT+2.

11:07am: Biden says G7, NATO must ‘stay together’ against Russia’s war

US President Joe Biden told Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday that the West must stay united against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We have to stay together,” Biden told Scholz at a meeting ahead of the G7 summit in the German Alps. Russian President Vladimir Putin had been hoping “that somehow NATO and the G7 would splinter,” Biden said. “But we haven’t and we’re not going to.”

10:49am: Biden thanks Scholz for leadership on Ukraine crisis at G7 summit

US President Joe Biden thanked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his leadership on the response to the Ukraine crisis as they met for a bilateral talk ahead of a three-day summit of the Group of Seven rich democracies on Sunday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had expected the West to  splinter after his invasion of Ukraine but it has and will not, Biden said in a good-humoured exchange with Scholz, who is hosting the summit at a Bavarian alpine resort. “I want to complement you on stepping up as you did when you became Chancellor,” Biden said. “Putin’s being counting on it from the beginning, that somehow NATO and the G7 would splinter, but we haven’t and it’s not going to,” he said.

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10:44am: Blasts heard in central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy

Explosions were heard in the central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy on Sunday, regional governor Oleksandr Skichko said on the Telegram app. He did not give further details. Cherkasy has been largely untouched by bombardment since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

10:36am: Blasts heard in southern outskirts of Kyiv

Two explosions were heard in the southern outskirts of Kyiv on Sunday after a missile struck a building in the centre of the capital in the early hours, a Reuters reporter said. It was not immediately possible to confirm what caused the blasts.

10:28am: UK’s Boris Johnson: cost of Russian victory in Ukraine is too high

World leaders must recognise the price of supporting Ukraine including the surge in energy and food costs but must also acknowledge that the price of allowing Russia to win would be far higher, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Speaking at the start of a Group of Seven summit on Sunday, Johnson said the West needed to maintain its unity in the face of Moscow’s aggression. “In order to protect that unity, in order to make it work, you’ve got to have really, really honest discussions about the implications of what’s going on, the pressures that individual friends and partners are feeling,” he told reporters.

“But the price of backing down, the price of allowing (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to succeed, to hack off huge parts of Ukraine, to continue with his programme of conquest, that price will be far, far higher. Everybody here understands that.”

9:38am: Five people wounded in missile strike in central Kyiv says police chief

At least five people were wounded when a missile hit a building in central Kyiv on Sunday, the head of Ukraine’s police force Ihor Klymenko said on national television.

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9:14am: Russia’s Defence Minister Shoigu visits troops involved in Ukraine operation

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu inspected Russian troop units involved in Ukraine, the defence ministry said on Sunday. “At the command posts of Russian units, Army General Sergei Shoigu heard reports from the commanders on the current situation and actions of the Russian Armed Forces in the main operational areas,” the ministry said in a statement. It was not immediately clear when the visit took place or if Shoigu had visited Ukraine  itself.

9:12am: Gazprom’s gas exports to Europe via Ukraine steady

Russian gas producer Gazprom said its supply of gas to Europe through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point was seen at 42.1 million cubic metres (mcm) on Sunday, same as on Saturday, Russian news agencies reported citing the company.

An application to supply gas via another major entry point, Sokhranovka, was again rejected by Ukraine, Gazprom said.

9:02am: G7 to announce ban on import of new Russian gold on Tuesday, says US official

The Group of Seven rich democracies will announce a ban on imports of Russian gold on Tuesday, as part of ongoing efforts to hold Russia accountable for its war in Ukraine and block attempts to evade Western sanctions, a senior US administration official said on Sunday.

Britain and the United States would announce the move on Sunday, followed by an official announcement on Tuesday, the official said. “The president and other G7 leaders will continue to work to hold (Russian President Vladimir) Putin accountable. Today the US. and the UK are announcing that G7 leaders will ban imports of Russian gold. The official announcement will come on Tuesday,” the official said.

8:23am: Russia’s Kyiv strike aims to ‘intimidate Ukrainians’ before NATO summit, says mayor

A Russian missile strike that hit Kyiv on Sunday was intended to “intimidate Ukrainians” in the days leading up to a NATO summit, the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

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The first Russian strike in the capital in nearly three weeks was aimed to “intimidate Ukrainians… at the approach of the NATO summit” to be held in Madrid from June 28-30, said Klitschko, who visited the scene of the explosion. 

7:04am: Four explosions heard in Ukraine capital Kyiv

Four explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv early Sunday, with AFP journalists reporting a residential complex near the centre of the city had been hit, causing a fire and cloud of grey smoke. The blasts occurred around 6:30 am (0330 GMT), half an hour after air raid sirens sounded in the capital, which has not not come under Russian bombardment for nearly three weeks.

“Ambulances and rescuers are on site. In two buildings, the rescue and evacuation of residents is underway,” he added. Thick smoke was seen in the affected residential area, which was cordoned off by police. At the end of April, a Ukrainian journalist from Radio Liberty was killed in her apartment by a Russian strike on Kyiv during a visit by UN chief Antonio Guterres.

6:05am: Several explosions heard in Kyiv’s Shevchenkivskiy district

Several explosions took place early on Sunday in the Shevchenkivskiy district of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app. “Ambulance crews and rescuers dispatched to the scene. More detailed information – later,” Klitschko said.

5:50am: Indonesian president to visit Ukraine, Russia on peace-building mission

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Sunday he will urge his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to open room for dialogue during a peace-building mission to the countries because “war has to stop and global food chains need to be reactivated”.

Speaking before leaving for Germany to attend the G7 summit on Monday, he said he will also urge Russia’s Vladimir Putin to order an immediate ceasefire.

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1:20am: Ukraine’s shelling forces Russian army to halt evacuation from Sievierodonetsk plant

Ukrainian shelling on Saturday forced Russian troops to suspend the evacuation of people from a chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk, just hours after Moscow’s forces took the city, Tass news agency quoted local police as saying.

Separately, a senior advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said special forces were still in Sievierodonetsk, directing artillery fire against the Russians. The adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, spoke in a video address.

1:00am: G7 summit kicks off under shadow of Ukraine war, stagflation risk

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomes leaders of the Group of Seven rich democracies on Sunday to a three-day summit in the Bavarian Alps overshadowed by the war in Ukraine and its far-reaching consequences, from energy shortages to a food crisis.

The summit takes place against a darker backdrop than last year when the British, Canadian, French, German, Italian, Japanese and US leaders met for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic and vowed to build back better. Soaring global energy and food prices are hitting economic growth in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The United Nations warned on Friday of an “unprecedented global hunger crisis”.

Climate change, an increasingly assertive China and the rise of authoritarianism are also set to be on the agenda. The G7 leaders are expected to seek to show a united front on supporting Ukraine for as long as necessary and cranking up pressure on the Kremlin – although they will want to avoid sanctions that could stoke inflation and exacerbate the cost-of-living crisis affecting their own people.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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