Live: Explosions rock Kyiv as G7 leaders discuss Ukraine war

Explosions rocked Kyiv Sunday morning, a day after a flurry of missiles struck targets across Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russian troops took full control of the key eastern industrial hub of Severodonetsk, which was under heavy siege for several weeks. Follow our liveblog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time, GMT+2.

3:28pm: German chancellor commends ‘unity’ amid G7 summit

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says attacks by Russia on residential buildings in Kyiv show the importance of international unity in supporting Ukraine.

Russia attacked the Ukrainian capital early Sunday, striking at least two residential buildings. Associated Press journalists in the city saw rescue services battling flames and rescuing civilians

Scholz emphasized the unity so far of the Group of Seven industrial powers, the European Union and NATO in organizing support for Ukraine.

He said Sunday after hosting the first session of the G-7 summit: “We can say for sure that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin did not reckon with this and it is still giving him a headache — the great international support for Ukraine but of course also the Ukrainians’ courage and bravery in defending their own country.”

1:13pm: EU sanctions should include Russian gas embargo, says Ukraine official

The latest missile strikes by Russia on Kyiv show that international sanctions should be more aggressive and include an EU embargo on Russian gas, the Ukraine president’s chief of staff said on Sunday.

“The G7 summit should respond to Russian strikes on Kyiv,” said Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s office. “The sanctions should be more aggressive. An embargo on gold exports is good, but a gas embargo is needed in the new EU sanctions package,” he said on the Telegram app.

12:45pm: Johnson showed ‘lots of enthusiasm’ on wider European community idea: Macron office

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson showed interest in France’s idea of creating a wider European political community beyond the EU during talks between the two countries’ leaders on Sunday, the French presidency said.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron saw “lots of enthusiasm” from his British counterpart who oversaw his country leaving the EU, when he spoke about the idea, a spokesman said. The broader community could allow Britain to “reengage” with the bloc, he added.

12:36pm: France backs Russian gold ban, wants G7 oil, gas price shield

France backs banning Russian gold exports and the proposal now needs to be discussed among the European Union’s 27 members, a French presidency official said on Sunday. The official said Paris was not opposed to a cap on Russian oil prices, but wanted the G7 to discuss a price shield that would cap oil and gas prices to rein in inflation.

The official added that the G7 were fully united in intensifying their support for Ukraine after the intensification of the conflict in recent days.

12:27pm: Russian strikes on Kyiv are “more of their barbarism”, Biden says

Strikes by Russian missiles in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv overnight and early this morning were another case of Russian barbarism, US President Joe Biden said at the summit of the Group of Seven rich democracies in Germany on Sunday. “It’s more of their barbarism,” he said.

12:20pm: Johnson, Macron see ‘opportunity to turn tide’ in Ukraine war

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that they saw an “opportunity to turn the tide” in Ukraine, as London warned against trying to “settle” the conflict now. 

A Downing Street spokesman said the leaders, meeting at the G7 summit in Germany, “agreed this is a critical moment for the course of the conflict, and there is an opportunity to turn the tide in the war”. But Johnson also cautioned Macron that “any attempt to settle the conflict now will only cause enduring instability”.

Both men “stressed the need to support Ukraine to strengthen their hand in both the war and any future negotiations. President Macron praised the Prime Minister’s ongoing military support to Ukraine and the leaders agreed to step up this work,” the spokesperson said. 

11:49am: Russia strikes training centres in three Ukrainian regions

Russia’s defence ministry said on Sunday it had used high-precision weapons to strike Ukrainian army training centres in the Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Lviv regions of Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported. Earlier on Sunday Ukraine had said that Russian missiles struck the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

11:27am: Ukraine FM urges G7 to give more weapons after Russian Kyiv strike

The Ukrainian government called for the G7 leaders meeting in Germany to give more weapons to Ukraine and impose further sanctions against Moscow, hours after Russian strikes hit residential buildings in Kyiv on Sunday.

“G7 summit must respond with more sanctions on Russia and more heavy arms for Ukraine. Russia’s sick imperialism must be defeated,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted.

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.

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, police chief says

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.

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.

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.

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

Ukrainian shelling on Saturday forced Russian troops to suspend the evacuation of people from a chemical plant in Severodonetsk, 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 Severodonetsk, 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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