|August 13, 2022|
Russian missiles hit shopping center in central Ukrainian city
Russia launched missiles Monday that struck a shopping center in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the number of casualties is “impossible to even imagine.”
Zelenskyy said more than 1,000 civilians were at the shopping center at the time of the attack, and the mall was on fire.
The Ukrainian leader deplored the attack, saying the shopping center, in a city 300 kilometers southeast of the capital, Kyiv, was “no danger to the Russian army, no strategic value.”
He said the shoppers were only attempting “to live a normal life, which angers Russians so much.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted, “The world is horrified by Russia’s missile strike today, which hit a crowded Ukrainian shopping mall — the latest in a string of atrocities. We will continue to support our Ukrainian partners and hold Russia, including those responsible for atrocities, to account."
Meanwhile, ahead of a NATO summit starting Tuesday in Madrid, alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said the Western military alliance is declaring a sevenfold increase in the number of its troops on standby alert — from 40,000 to more than 300,000.
Stoltenberg said Russia has "chosen confrontation instead of dialogue. We regret that — but of course, then we need to respond to that reality."
He said that NATO “will strengthen our forward defenses. We will enhance our battlegroups in the eastern part of the alliance up to brigade levels."
The United States and the other members of the Group of Seven leading industrialized economies meeting in Germany’s Bavarian Alps imposed new sanctions Monday against Russia for its four-month invasion of Ukraine.
These include measures to cut Moscow off from materials and services needed by its industrial and technology sectors.
The White House said the U.S. will commit $7.5 billion as part of a G-7 effort to help Ukraine cover its short-term budget needs, and that the governments are making “an unprecedented, long-term security commitment to providing Ukraine with financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support as long as it takes.”
In a joint communique, the G-7 said, “We remain appalled by and continue to condemn the brutal, unprovoked, unjustifiable and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine by Russia and aided by Belarus. We condemn and will not recognize Russia’s continued attempts to redraw borders by force.”
The announcement came as G-7 leaders spoke by video link with Zelenskyy.
Additional specific U.S. sanctions include blocks on Russian state-owned defense enterprises and defense research organizations, limiting Russia’s ability to replenish equipment it has lost in the war, and prohibitions on gold imports into the United States.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters the United States is finalizing a new military aid package for Ukraine that includes advanced air defense capabilities to help it shoot down incoming Russian missiles such as those deployed to target several Ukrainian cities over the weekend and the attack on Kremenchuk.
In addition, he acknowledged the G-7 leaders are attempting to craft a cap on the price of oil Russia sells on the world market “to deny revenue to Russia while at the same time ensuring a stable global energy market.” Whether India and other nations that buy Russian oil would go along with a price cap is uncertain.
Russian troops also carried out shelling in the eastern city of Lysychansk on Monday, trying to capture the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in Luhansk province after seizing control of neighboring Sievierodonetsk.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said the damage to Lysychansk has been “catastrophic.”
Haidai urged the remaining civilians to evacuate the city that was home to 100,000 people before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
Russia now controls virtually all of Luhansk province, part of the eastern Donbas region that Moscow is trying to take over, one of its major war aims.
Russian forces on Sunday launched new missile attacks against Ukraine’s two biggest cities — the capital of Kyiv, and Kharkiv.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at least two apartment buildings in the city were hit, leaving at least one person dead and four others injured.
Russia ramped up its use of cruise missiles, striking targets across northwestern Ukraine. Air raid sirens blared in several cities.
“It’s more of their barbarism,” U.S. President Joe Biden said of the Russian strike on Kyiv. (Source: VOA News)
Story Date: June 28, 2022