Dozens of Russian missiles have struck targets across Ukraine, with the capital Kyiv enduring the heaviest barrage in months.
An apartment block in Kyiv was destroyed, killing at least one and wounding six others including a seven-year-old girl. Ukraine officials said 14 missiles were fired at the Kyiv region on Sunday, June 26, 2022, but the strikes extended far beyond the city.
Other areas hit by the missiles included the central city of Cherkasy, where one person died, and the North-Eastern Kharkiv region.
The strikes came as leaders of the G7 group of the world’s richest nations began a three-day summit in Munich, Germany, with the war in Ukraine being top of the agenda. They are expected to promise further military support for Kyiv and impose more sanctions on Moscow. “We have to stay together,” US President, Joe Biden, told Germany’s Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, just before the summit.
“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin has been counting on it from the beginning, that somehow NATO would, and the G7 would splinter and… but we haven’t, and we’re not going to. So, we can’t let this aggression take the form it has and get away with it.”US President, Joe Biden
Conflicting Thoughts Among G7 Leaders
According to a media correspondent, James Landale, who is at the summit, said Western unity over the war faltered in recent weeks, with some leaders discussing long-term relationships with Russia and others stressing strong, lasting support for Ukraine. But the G7 leaders’ meeting is determined to put those divisions to bed.
In Kyiv, a giant blast crater was gouged in a nursery school playground, near a nine-storey building, whose top floors were ripped apart. The injured girl’s mother, identified as a Russian citizen, was also pulled from the rubble and taken to the hospital, officials said, calming nerves with the information that the girl later underwent surgery and is “in stable condition”.
Ukraine’s military said some missiles were launched from Tupolev bombers over the Caspian Sea, some 1,450km (900 miles) away. And on Saturday, June 25, 2022, it said, Russian missiles were fired from Tupolevs flying over neighbouring Belarus. The Russian Defence Ministry said high-precision weapons struck Ukrainian army training centres on Sunday, June 26, 2022, in the regions of Chernihiv, North of Kyiv, and Zhytomyr and Lviv, West of the capital. The strike on Starychi District in Lviv was just 30km (19 miles) from the border with Poland’s NATO member.
Response from Kyiv
Kyiv Mayor, Vitaliy Klitschko, said the attacks are an attempt to intimidate Ukraine ahead of this week’s G7 summit.
The last major Russian missile strike on Kyiv was on June 5, 2022, when a railway repair facility was hit. Russia has become internationally isolated through far-reaching sanctions since its invasion on Thursday, February 24, 2022, in Ukraine.
After early setbacks, Russia made some advances in the East despite fierce Ukrainian resistance, and on Saturday, June 25, 2022, finally captured Severodonetsk, a city now in ruins after an intense attack. Military analysts intimated that the war is now a war of attrition in the industrial Eastern Donbas region, though Kyiv’s forces are outgunned by Russian artillery and missiles. However, Ukraine urged the West again to speed up deliveries of heavy long-range weapons to defend itself.
The Viewpoint of Some G7 Leaders
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, met French President, Emmanuel Macron, at the G7 summit. A Spokesperson for Mr. Johnson said, “they agreed this is a critical moment for the course of the conflict, and there is an opportunity to turn the tide in the war”. They agreed to sustain military support for Ukraine, and Mr. Johnson “stressed any attempt to settle the conflict now will only cause enduring instability” by giving “licence” to Russian President, Vladimir Putin. He said leaders must be honest about the war’s rising costs, but the price of Russia succeeding was “far higher”.
German Chancellor, Scholz, who is hosting the G7 meeting, said unity over Ukraine is the group’s clear message to Mr. Putin, saying “We are united by our world view and by our belief in democracy and rule of law”.