Russia strikes Kyiv as Western leaders Meet in Europe

KYIV, Ukraine — Russia shattered weeks of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital with long-range missiles fired toward Kyiv early Sunday, an apparent Kremlin show-of-force as Western leaders meet in Europe to strengthen their military and economic support of Ukraine.

Vitali Klitschko, Kyiv’s Mayor, said that the missiles struck at least two residences and one person was killed. Six others were injured, including a girl aged 7 and her mother. Associated Press reporters saw rescue workers fighting fires in the building and rescuing people.

A nearby kindergarten was also affected by the strikes, and a crater was used to encircle it. U.S. President Joe Biden called the attacks “barbarism” after he arrived in Germany for a Group of Seven summit.

YuriyIgnat, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force said that the Kh-101 cruise missiles were the first to be launched from airplanes and successfully hit the capital. They were fired over the Caspian Sea more than 1500 km (932 miles).

Kyiv’s mayor told journalists he thought the airstrikes were “maybe a symbolic attack” ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid that starts Tuesday. An ex-commander of U.S. forces Europe claimed that the strikes were also a signal for the G-7 leaders meeting in Germany on Sunday.

“Russia is saying, ‘We can do this all day long. You guys are powerless to stop us,’” retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commanding general of U.S. Army forces in Europe, said. “The Russians are humiliating the leaders of the West.”

G-7 leaders would announce the latest of a series of economic international steps that have been taken to pressurize and isolate Russia in relation to its war in Ukraine. These include new sanctions on Russian gold exports. Standing with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the three-day meeting’s host, Biden said of the missile strikes on Kyiv: “It’s more of their barbarism.”

Oleksiy Gontcharenko, a Ukrainian legislator, posted on Telegram that preliminary information showed that Russia fired 14 missiles at the capital region of Kyiv and Kyiv. This suggests that some may have been intercepted.

In a phone interview, retired U.S. general Hodges told The Associated Press that Russia has a limited stock of precision missiles and “if they are using them, it’s going to be for a special purpose,”

Russia denied attacking civilians during the war that lasted four months. Hodges claimed it was difficult to tell if Sunday’s missiles were designed to target apartment buildings.

Russian forces attempted early on in the war to seize control over Kyiv. They were repulsed by the Ukrainian forces and the Kremlin turned its attention to eastern and southern Ukraine.

Russian rockets struck Cherkasy in southeast Kyiv. The incident occurred about 160km (100 miles). One person died and five were hurt.

The Russian forces in the East fought for their gains and fought to take over the Ukrainian stronghold of Luhansk. Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Hadidai announced Sunday that Russia was carrying out intense airstrikes in Lysychansk. This included destroying the television tower there and severely damaging a road bridge.

“There’s very much destruction. Lysychansk is almost unrecognizable,” he wrote on Facebook.

For weeks, Lysychansk and the nearby city of Sievierodonetsk have been subject to a bloody and destructive offensive by Russian forces and their separatist allies aimed at capturing all of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

Haidai confirmed Saturday that Sievierodonetsk was overthrown, including the chemical plant in which hundreds of civilians, soldiers, and other Ukrainians had been held.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov stated late Saturday, commenting on the Battle for Sievierodonetsk that Russian-backed separatist forces now have control of the entire city and the surrounding villages. He said the Russian military had thwarted Ukrainian forces’ attempt to turn the Azot chemical plant into a “stubborn center of resistance.”

Russian and separatist forces could take over control of any major Luhansk settlement by taking Lysychansk. According to last reports, about half of Donetsk was under their control, which is the second Donbass province.

Russia launched numerous missiles against several parts of Ukraine on Saturday. These areas were far away from the central battlegrounds of the Eastern Front. Some of the missiles were fired from Russian long-range Tu-22 bombers deployed from Belarus for the first time, Ukraine’s air command said.

Anthony Blinken (U.S. Secretary Of State) stated that the ban on imports from Russia of Russian gold is a sign of an escalation.

“That is the second-most lucrative export that Russia has after energy.” Blinken told American news channel CNN. “It’s about $19 billion a year. Most of it is in the G-7. So cutting that off, denying access to about $19 billion of revenues a year, that’s significant.”

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