Russia Attacks Ukraine Capital
Russia launched an attack on Ukraine’s capital Sunday.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at least one apartment building was hit in the shelling.
The attack Sunday comes on the same day that Group of Seven leaders from the world’s richest democracies are meeting in Germany.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be a main focus of the summit. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday he will take part in the summit Monday.
Before the opening of the summit, U.S. President Joe Biden said that the U.S. and the other G-7 economies will ban the import of Russian gold, the latest sanction imposed on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
The attack on Ukraine’s capital comes a day after the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, a major victory for Russia after weeks of fierce fighting, with the ongoing battles resulting in international food and fuel price hikes.
Meanwhile, Russia launched rocket attacks across Ukraine on Saturday. The attacks were reported to be launched from Belarusian airspace, just hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin was scheduled to meet with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Zelenskyy said in his daily address Saturday that “Ukraine needs more armed assistance, and that air defense systems — the modern systems that our partners have – should be not in training areas or storage facilities, but in Ukraine, where they are now needed. Needed more than anywhere else in the world.”
Ukraine said Russian forces had fully occupied Lysychansk, a neighboring city of Sievierodonetsk, in the eastern Luhansk region. Moscow claimed it had encircled about 2,000 Ukrainian troops in the area.
The Russian advances appeared to bring the Kremlin closer to taking full control of Luhansk province, one of Moscow’s stated war objectives.
To stabilize the situation in Luhansk, Ukraine needs “fire parity” with Russia, Ukraine’s top general told his U.S. counterpart Friday.
“We discussed the operational situation and the delivery flow of international technical assistance,” Ukraine’s General Valeriy Zaluzhniy wrote on the Telegram app after a phone call with the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley.
Ukraine has said Russia’s artillery advantage on the Donbas front lines is taking a significant toll on Ukrainian troops and has called on its Western partners to supply more weapons to minimize the deficit.
A senior U.S. defense official on Friday praised the Ukrainian decision to withdraw from Sievierodonetsk, describing the move as “professional” and “tactical.”
“What they are doing is putting themselves in a position where they can better defend themselves,” the official told reporters on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss intelligence and other sensitive information.
And while the official said Russian forces have been able to eke out gains around Sievierodonetsk, the gains have come at considerable cost.
“The Russians have suffered heavy casualties and they also have suffered heavy equipment losses,” the official said. “The Russian forces are showing the signs of wear and tear, and debilitated morale, and it is impacting their ability to move forward swiftly.”