From 6h ago

Russian strike hits residential building in Mykolaiv

More on the attack on Mykolaiv, from Reuters:

At least three people were killed and five wounded by a Russian missile strike on a residential building in Ukraine’s southern city of Mykolaiv on Wednesday, said local authorities who have launched a rescue effort for survivors.

Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said eight missiles had hit the city, and urged residents to evacuate. He said the building appeared to have been hit by a Russian X-55 cruise missile.

Photographs from the scene showed smoke billowing from a four-storey building with its upper floor partly destroyed.

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This morning russia hit a residential building in Mykolaiv, killing at least 2 civilians, injuring another 3 – Head of Oblast Administration Vitaly Kim.#RussianWarCrimes pic.twitter.com/8xMxHYgXoO

&mdash; Stratcom Centre UA (@StratcomCentre) June 29, 2022

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Updated at 08.08 BST

Peter Walker

Peter Walker

Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, said he would most likely attend this year’s G20 summit in Bali even if Russian President Vladimir Putin decides to go, saying to boycott it would simply “leave the whole argument” to Russia and its allies.

Johnson told reporters he would be “absolutely amazed” if Putin went in person to the leaders’ summit in November on the Indonesian island, noting the Russian president’s lack of recent overseas travel – although Putin has just visited Tajikistan and is due to go to Turkmenistan.

Russia remains a member of the G20, despite being expelled from what was the G8, and the Kremlin has said Putin plans to attend the Bali summit in person.

This would, Johnson said, create “a very difficult question”. He said:

Yes, he’s been formally invited. I don’t think he will go. The question is: do we as the Western countries vacate our seats at the G20 and leave the whole argument to China, to Russia?

Much of the conversation at the G7 has been about, are we doing enough to win over the swing voters? What can we do with the middle of the congregation, the people who look at Ukraine and have mixed feelings? We need to be doing more to win them over. We need to be making our case.

I think if you vacate something like the G20 you risk just handing the propaganda opportunity to others.

Zelenskiy: Russia waging war ‘to dictate future world order’

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has told Nato leaders in Madrid that Kyiv needs more weapons and money to defend itself against Russia’s invasion.

The Ukrainian president warned Moscow’s ambitions did not stop at his country during a virtual address to the Nato summit.

Zelenskiy said:

This is not a war being waged by Russia against only Ukraine. This is a war for the right to dictate conditions in Europe – for what the future world order will be like.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a Nato summit in Madrid.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a Nato summit in Madrid. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

It was “absolutely necessary” for Nato countries to support Ukraine “with weapons, finances and political sanctions against Russia”, he said.

The monthly cost of defending Ukraine against Russia’s invasion was about $5bn, Zelenskiy said. Ukraine needed modern missile and air defence systems to “break Russia’s tactics to destroy cities and terrorise civilians”, he added.

He said Russia did not want to stop at taking areas of southern Ukraine or the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Zelenskiy told Nato leaders:

It wants to absorb city after city in Europe, which the Russian leadership considers its property and not independent states. This is Russia’s real goal. The question is – who is next for Russia? Moldova? The Baltic states? Poland? The answer is all of them.

Updated at 13.06 BST

Pope Francis has condemned the bombing of a crowded shopping centre in Kremenchuk, describing it as the latest in a string of “barbarous attacks” against Ukraine.

Addressing crowds in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Francis said:

Every day, I carry in my heart dear and martyred Ukraine, which continues to be flagellated by barbarous attacks like the one that hit the shopping centre in Kremenchuk.

I pray that this mad war can soon end and I renew my appeal to persevere without tiring in praying for peace.

Alex Lawson

Great Britain plans to stop supplying gas to mainland Europe if the country is hit by extreme shortages in the coming months, it has emerged.

National Grid could cut off gas pipelines to the Netherlands and Belgium under emergency measures as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts pressure on global energy supplies.

Shutting off the pipelines – known as interconnectors – would be part of a four-step plan that would include cutting supplies to big industrial users and asking consumers to reduce their household consumption, the Financial Times reported.

Ministers have been scrambling to shore up Great Britain’s energy supplies amid a squeeze exacerbated by Russia’s invasion on Ukraine. Russia has also ramped up pressure on other European nations by cutting their gas supplies in response to a rush to fill up European storage caverns before the winter.

The two undersea interconnectors that link Great Britain with Belgium and the Netherlands have been transporting their maximum capacity – exporting 75m cubic metres a day of gas to the European mainland – since March.

Britain has healthy quantities of gas supplies, including liquified natural gas imports, but low storage capacity.

The Investec analyst Nathan Piper said: “The interconnectors play an important role in European energy security, allowing LNG volumes landed in the UK to be transported into European storage in the summer that provide a buffer for volumes to be sent back to the UK where storage is limited, through the winter months.”

European gas companies have warned that shutting off the pipelines could backfire on the UK.

Nato leaders pose for family photo during summit in Madrid.
Nato leaders pose for a group photograph during the summit in Madrid. Photograph: WPA/Getty Images
US president Joe Biden with British prime minister Boris Johnson and Turkish tresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
US president Joe Biden with British prime minister Boris Johnson and Turkish tresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photograph: JuanJo Martin/EPA

Updated at 12.35 BST

The UK has announced new sanctions against 13 individuals and entities, including a cousin of Vladimir Putin as well as the oligarch Vladimir Potanin, described by the British government as Russia’s second-richest man.

Potanin, known as Russia’s “Nickel King”, has continued “to amass wealth as he supports Putin’s regime, acquiring Rosbank, and shares in Tinkoff Bank in the period since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”, a UK government press notice accompanying the announcement said.

He was included in the latest wave of sanctions listings because he was “obtaining a benefit from or supporting the government of Russia by owning or controlling Rosbank”, it said.

Also among those newly sanctioned are Vladimir Putin’s cousin, Anna Tsivileva, who is president of the JSC Kolmar Group coalmining company. Tsivileva’s husband, Sergey Tsivilev, is governor of the coal-rich Kemerovo region and the couple are said to have “significantly benefited” from their relationship with the Russian leader.

A UK government spokesperson:

As long as Putin continues his abhorrent assault on Ukraine, we will use sanctions to weaken the Russian war machine.

Today’s sanctions show that nothing and no one is off the table, including Putin’s inner circle.

Updated at 12.35 BST

Peter Walker

Peter Walker

A Ukrainian MP in Madrid to lobby world leaders at the Nato summit has warned that further efforts are needed to unblock grain supplies to avoid rising food prices and unrest worldwide.

Oleksiy Goncharenko, an MP in the Odesa region, told reporters that Vladimir Putin was “acting just like a terrorist – he has taken hundreds of millions of people as hostages by starving them” through the Russian blockade of Ukrainian grain exports.

Goncharenko said Ukraine needed more weaponry to help remove the blockade, noting that direct Nato intervention seemed unlikely due to the “risk of direct clashes”.

He reiterated Ukrainian calls for more land weaponry, notably rocket launchers, saying the country needed “multiples of 10” more than what had so far been sent by other countries.

“If we had thousands, we would finish everything in days. But I understand that even the Nato countries themselves probably don’t have thousands,” he said.

Updated at 12.36 BST

A last-minute agreement has been reached between Turkey, Finland and Sweden to allow the two Nordic countries to become Nato members on the eve of the military alliance’s summit in Madrid.

Finland and Sweden to join Nato ‘as quickly as possible’ – video

Updated at 11.39 BST

Today so far …

  • Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russian leader Vladimir Putin Tuesday of becoming “a terrorist” leading a “terrorist state” and urged Russia’s expulsion from the United Nations. In a virtual address to the UN security council, Zelenskiy urged the UN to establish an international tribunal to investigate “the actions of Russian occupiers on Ukrainian soil” and to hold the country accountable.
  • The Ukraine president also called for the United Nations to visit the site of a missile strike on a shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk. “I suggest the United Nations send either a special representative, or the secretary general of the United Nations … so the UN could independently find out information and see that this indeed was a Russian missile strike,” he said of Monday’s attack, which killed at least 18 people.
  • The Russian army claimed on Tuesday it had hit a nearby weapons depot with the explosion sparking the blaze at the shopping centre, which according to Moscow was “not operational” at the time.
  • At least three people were killed and five wounded by a Russian missile strike on a residential building in Ukraine’s southern city of Mykolaiv on Wednesday, according to local authorities who have launched a rescue effort for survivors. Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said eight missiles had hit the city, and urged residents to evacuate. He said the building appeared to have been hit by a Russian X-55 cruise missile.
  • Russia has claimed to have destroyed a training base for foreign mercenaries near Mykolaiv in its latest military operational briefing.
  • Fighting continues in all settlements of the Lysychansk community, according to Serhai Haidai, Ukraine’s governor of Luhansk. “The shelling continues constantly, the destruction is catastrophic” he said.
  • Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine will continue until Ukraine stops shelling Donbas and until no threat comes from its territory, Russian first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, has said. He criticised the supply of arms to Ukraine, saying: “By supplying your weapons, you only prolong the agony of the criminal Kyiv regime that is ready to sacrifice its own population.”
  • Finland and Sweden will be invited to join Nato at its Madrid summit after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday lifted his opposition following crunch talks with the leaders of the two Nordic countries. US president Joe Biden congratulated Turkey, Finland and Sweden on reaching an agreement.
  • Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has said he expected a swift ratification of Sweden and Finland’s membership of the military alliance. He told reporters: “After invitation, we need a ratification process in 30 parliaments. That always takes some time but I expect also that to go rather quickly because allies are ready to try to make that ratification process happen as quickly as possible.”
  • Stoltenberg also said the alliance’s new strategic concept will “state clearly that Russia poses a direct threat to our security”. Zelenskiy will address the Nato summit in Madrid virtually today.
  • Nato allies will continue to supply Ukraine with weapons in its war against Russia for as long as necessary, German chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Madrid.
  • British prime minister Boris Johnson will urge his Nato allies to boost their defence spending in response to Russia’s invasion “to restore deterrence and ensure defence in the decade ahead”, his office said.
  • Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed administration in occupied Kherson, has said a date for a referendum for the region to join the Russian Federation had not yet been chosen, but that he expected the vote in “the coming half-year”.
  • Russia-installed officials in Ukraine’s Kherson region said their security forces had detained Kherson city mayor Ihor Kolykhayev on Tuesday after he refused to follow Moscow’s orders, while a Kherson local official said the mayor was abducted.
  • In an interview with the NBC network in the US, Zelenskiy has compared scenes he saw at Bucha to a war movie, saying: “It was just so quiet, everything was destroyed, dead people, destroyed army equipment. There was this sense of death. When they found people in the bottom of wells, hands bound, raped, and murdered – they’d done everything to them. I just didn’t know that this could be done by people who, 30 years previously, we had lived together in the Soviet Union, in one country. I just never had thought that humanity could be capable of this, and this changes how you look at people.”
  • Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, has arrived in Kyiv this morning, where he will meet Zelenskiy. The Indonesian president is the current chair of the G20 group, and his European trip is also expected to include a visit to Moscow and meet Russian president Vladimir Putin.
  • UK defence secretary Ben Wallace has echoed Boris Johnson’s words about Putin and “toxic masculinity”, saying in an interview that the Russian president has got “small man syndrome … in spades”. Wallace also described Maria Zakharova’s regular appearances as press secretary for Russia’s foreign ministry as a “comedy turn”.

Updated at 11.16 BST

“Old Freud during his lifetime would have dreamed of such an object for research!” is the response of Russia’s presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov to UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s claim that Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he were a woman and his statement that the war is a “perfect example of toxic masculinity”.

Peskov’s words came in response to the RIA Novosti news agency asking him about Johnson’s comments.

Updated at 10.59 BST

Occupied Kherson region referendum on joining Russian Federation expected in ‘the coming half-year’

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed administration in occupied Kherson, has told Reuters that a date for a referendum for the region to join the Russian Federation had not yet been chosen, but that he expected the vote in “the coming half-year”

Updated at 11.00 BST

Russia has claimed to have destroyed a training base for foreign mercenaries near Mykolaiv in its latest military operational briefing.

The update also claims that Russia has virtually destroyed Ukraine’s 108th battalion, destroyed four command posts in a day including two in Kharkiv, shot down a MiG-29 aircraft, two Su-25 aircraft, an Mi-8 helicopter and nine Ukrainian drones.

The briefing claims that “the food situation is critical” for several units of Ukraine’s armed forces, suggesting that “numerous cases of abandonment of positions and desertion of military personnel are recorded due to hunger”.

None of the claims have been independently verified.

Updated at 09.58 BST

Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, has arrived in Kyiv this morning, where he will meet Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The Indonesian president is the current chair of the G20 group and one of six world leaders the United Nations appointed as “champions” of a global crisis response group, formed to address the threat of an hunger and destitution posed by the war in Ukraine.

Reuters notes that before the war, Ukraine had been one of Indonesia’s biggest wheat suppliers.

Handout picture from Indonesia’s Presidential Palace shows Indonesian President Joko Widodo (front R) walking with aides and escorting military personnel upon his arrival in Kyiv.
Handout picture from Indonesia’s presidential palace shows Indonesian president Joko Widodo (front right) walking with aides and escorting military personnel upon his arrival in Kyiv. Photograph: Presidential palace/AFP/Getty Images

Often known as ‘Jokowi’, the Indonesian president and his wife arrived in Ukraine by train, and his European visit will next call on Moscow where he is expected to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Updated at 09.59 BST

Source: The Guardian