Ukraine latest updates: Ukraine faces ‘brutality’, NATO head says
Ukraine news from June 28: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg urges bloc leaders to maintain backing for Ukraine as it faces an onslaught from Russia.
- G7 leaders have called on Russia to lift the blockade on Ukrainian Black Sea ports and cease actions contributing to global food insecurity.
- The toll from Russia’s missile attack on a crowded shopping centre in Kremenchuk has risen to at least 18 dead and 59 wounded, officials say.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has described the raid as “one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history”, adding that Russia is the largest “terrorist” organisation in the world.
- The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday on Russia’s targeting of civilians, with the Kremenchuk attack being “the main focus”, the UN body states.
- Russian forces are storming the city of Lysychansk from the south and southwest, trying to block the city from that direction and as well as its transport links to the Donetsk region, the governor of Luhansk says.
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These were the updates on Tuesday, June 28:
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Russian hackers claim responsibility for cyberattack on Lithuania
NATO to boost rapid reaction force to 300,000 troops: Stoltenberg
Russia denies debt default, blames Western financial agents
Zelenskyy urges UN to visit site of mall strike
During his address to the UN Security Council, Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy called for the United Nations to visit the site of a missile strike on a shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk.
“I suggest the United Nations send either a special representative, or the secretary-general of the United Nations, or a plenipotentiary commission to the site of this terrorist act … so the UN could independently find out information and see that this indeed was a Russian missile strike,” Zelenskyy said.
US gave Turkey no concessions: Official
A senior United States administration official says Washington did not offer any concessions to Turkey to coax it to accept the deal to drop its opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, according to the AP news agency.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that US President Joe Biden made a deliberate choice to keep the US from being a party to the negotiations.
Swedish PM: Turkey backing ‘very important step’
Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has hailed a “very good agreement” with Turkey to back Swedish and Finnish membership in NATO.
“Taking the next step toward a full NATO membership is of course important for Sweden and Finland. But it’s also a very important step for NATO, because our countries will be security providers within NATO,” Andersson told AFP news agency in an interview.
Key memorandum just reached between Sweden, Finland and Türkyie. Paves way for Swedish accession to NATO.
— SwedishPM (@SwedishPM) June 28, 2022
Finnish, Swedish memberships will make NATO ‘stronger and safer’: UK PM
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed Turkey’s agreement to drop its objections to Finland’s and Sweden’s membership of NATO.
“Fantastic news as we kick off the NATO Summit. Sweden and Finland’s membership will make our brilliant alliance stronger and safer,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
Turkey ‘got what it wanted’ from Sweden, Finland talks: Erdogan’s office
Turkey “got what it wanted” from Sweden and Finland before agreeing to back their drives to join the NATO defence alliance, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said.
“Turkey has made significant gains in the fight against terrorist organisations,” said the Turkish statement, adding: “Turkey got what it wanted.”
Turkey supports Finland and Sweden NATO bid: Finnish presidency
Turkey signed a memorandum with Finland and Sweden supporting the invitation for the Nordic countries to become members of NATO, the Finnish presidency has said.
A trilateral agreement signed in Madrid “confirms that Turkey will at the Madrid Summit this week support the invitation of Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in a statement.
NATO leaders to invite Sweden, Finland to become members Wednesday: Stoltenberg
NATO leaders will formally invite Finland and Sweden to join the alliance Wednesday after Turkey inked a deal to drop its objections, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said.
“I’m pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO. Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports, and the fight against terrorism,” Stoltenberg said after crunch talks in Madrid.
Germany and Netherlands to supply six more howitzers to Kyiv
Germany and the Netherlands will deliver six additional howitzers to Ukraine, the defence ministers of both countries said on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Madrid.
Each country will provide three of the artillery weapons, Germany’s Christine Lambrecht and Kajsa Ollongren from the Netherlands told reporters, on top of 12 howitzers the countries have already sent to Ukraine.
“We show our resolve and our commitment to Ukraine, and not to give in to this Russian aggression,” Ollongren said.
UK PM says NATO talks ‘difficult’ with Turkey on Finland, Sweden
UK Prime Minister Johnson has said that talks over Sweden and Finland’s membership in NATO with Turkey will be “difficult” but said “progress” had been made.
“Finland and Sweden, breaking decades of historic neutrality, are now wanting to join. It will be a difficult conversation,” he told reporters on the plane taking him to Madrid for a NATO summit.
Bulgaria to expel 70 Russian diplomatic staff: PM
Bulgaria will expel 70 Russian diplomatic staff, the European Union country’s prime minister has announced, the biggest number ordered out in one go from the Balkan nation.
“Bulgaria is going to expel 70 Russian diplomats … Our services identified them as people who worked against our interests,” Prime Minister Kiril Petkov told reporters.
Rescuers search rubble in Dnipro after missile strike
Rescue workers searched for people under rubble in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro after a Russian missile strike in the region, the governor of Dnipropetrovsk region has said.
The official, Valentyn Reznychenko, said that railway infrastructure and an industrial enterprise had been damaged in the city and that a services company was burning.
UK military chiefs urge army ‘mobilisation’ over Russia threat
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Patrick Sanders, a general and the army’s most senior officer, have warned that UK armed forces must “mobilise” in response to the threat posed by Russia, with the army’s new chief invoking the Allies’ struggle against Nazi Germany in World War II.
Wallace, who has been in post for three years, also suggested the government will need to further boost defence spending to meet the heightened threat.
“There’s a very real danger that Russia will lash out against wider Europe, and that in these days of long-range missiles and stealth, distance is no protection,” he told an audience at military think-tank the Royal United Services Institute.
“Investment needs to continue to grow. Before it becomes too late to address the resurgent threat and the lessons learned in Ukraine, it is time to mobilise, to be ready and to be relevant.”
Finnish, Swedish leaders meet Erdogan over NATO bids
The leaders of Finland and Sweden met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid to try to get him to drop objections to them joining, Swedish and Finnish officials have said.
Erdogan has refused to greenlight the applications from the Nordic pair despite calls from his NATO allies to clear the path for them to enter.
US implements G7 sanctions targeting Russian military, gold
Washington has announced steps to implement the new sanctions on Russia as agreed by Group of Seven (G7) leaders, targeting Moscow’s defence industry and banning gold imports from the country.
The latest moves “strike at the heart of Russia’s ability to develop and deploy weapons and technology used for Vladimir Putin’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine,” the US Treasury Department said in a statement.
The sanctions target state company Rostec and other industries critical to the defence sector, as well as military units and officers implicated in human rights abuses in Ukraine, the Treasury said.
NATO says it does not regard China as adversary, but is worried over Russia ties
NATO does not see China as an adversary but it is concerned about Beijing’s ever-closer ties with Moscow since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said.
“We don’t regard China as an adversary,” Stoltenberg said on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid, adding that China would soon be the biggest economy in the world and that NATO needed to engage with Beijing on issues like climate change.
“But we are disappointed by the fact that China has not been able to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that China is spreading many of the false narratives about NATO, the West, and also that China and Russia are more close now than they have ever been before,” he added.
Draghi: G20 presidency says Putin won’t go to Bali meeting
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the Indonesian presidency of the Group of 20 (G20) nations has ruled out in-person participation by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the November meeting of the group in Bali.
The November 15-16 summit risked awkward diplomatic encounters if Putin were to have come, as announced by the Kremlin.
But Draghi, whose country held the G20 presidency before handing it off to Indonesia, said Tuesday that the Group of Seven (G7) had rallied to support Indonesian President Joko Widodo to organise a successful summit.
Italy’s Draghi says cereal exports from Ukraine may soon be resumed
Draghi has said it may soon be possible for cereal exports to resume from Ukraine, alleviating shortages that are particularly affecting poor countries.
Draghi said it was not necessary for mines to be fully cleared from Ukraine’s ports and that “there are corridors” in place to potentially allow cargo ships to operate.
A final green light from the Kremlin was required for exports to resume, and this “should come soon”, Draghi told reporters.
Russian hacker group says cyberattacks continue on Lithuania
Russian hacker group Killnet told Reuters news agency that it was continuing a major cyberattack on Lithuania in retaliation for Vilnius’s decision to cease the transit of some goods under European Union sanctions to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.
Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte told reporters in Vilnius that her government institutions are working 24 hours per day to “fix the problems as they are found”.
“This is not the first attack. We have experienced many cyberattacks beginning with February 24”, she said, referring to the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Macron backs Russia oil price cap
French President Emmanuel Macron told the G7 summit that he backed the idea of a cap on Russian oil prices, saying he felt that some were making money out of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Some producers and speculators are making a lot of money with the current war,” said Macron.
Macron added he favoured a Russian gas cap, which could be easier to implement compared with a Russian oil cap, and that an alliance of buyers needed to be widened for a Russian oil cap to work.
Ukraine facing ‘brutality’ unseen in Europe since WWII: NATO chief
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has urged leaders of the bloc heading to a summit in Madrid to keep up their backing for Ukraine as it faces an onslaught from Russia.
“It is extremely important that we are ready to continue to provide support because Ukraine now faces a brutality which we haven’t seen in Europe since the second world war,” Stoltenberg said ahead of the gathering in Spain.
Spoke with President @ZelenskyyUa on #Russia's war of aggression. At our #NATOSummit we will step up support for our close partner #Ukraine, now & for the longer term. #NATO Allies stand with you.
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) June 28, 2022
French President Macron: Russia strike on Ukraine mall was war crime
French President Emmanuel Macron said that Russia’s attack this week on a Ukrainian shopping centre was a “war crime” and that France would keep supporting Ukraine for as long as necessary.
“Russia cannot and must not win this war,” Macron said at the G7 summit in Germany.
Firefighters and soldiers searched on Tuesday for survivors in the rubble of the Kremenchuk shopping mall, where authorities said 36 people were still missing after a Russian missile raid that had killed at least 18.
G7 will drive up costs for Russia over Ukraine war: Scholz
Leaders of the G7 promised to make Russia pay for its invasion of Ukraine, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressing that “Putin must not be allowed to win”.
“The G7 stands united in its support for Ukraine,” Scholz told a press conference after a three-day summit.
“We will continue to keep up and drive up the economic and political costs of this war for President Putin and his regime,” he said.
G7 leaders end meeting with condemnation of Russia
G7 leaders have ended their meeting in Germany with a united stance to support Ukraine for “as long as necessary”, while exploring far-reaching efforts to cap Kremlin income from oil sales that are financing its invasion.
The final statement left out key details on how the fossil fuel price caps would work in practice, but set up more discussion in the weeks ahead to “explore” measures to cap imports of Russian oil at an undetermined level.
During the three days of meetings, leaders also agreed on a ban on imports of Russian gold and to step up aid to countries hit with food shortages by the blockade on Ukraine grain shipments through the Black Sea.
Biden to meet Turkey’s Erdogan at NATO summit: White House
US President Joe Biden will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at this week’s NATO summit in Madrid where the alliance will discuss the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the White House has said.
Leaders at the Madrid summit will also take “historic decisions to strengthen the alliance’s collective defence and security,” the statement said.
Analysts believe the meeting between Biden and Erdogan could play a crucial role in lifting Turkey’s resistance to bids by Sweden and Finland to join the Western defence alliance in response to the war.
Russia adds Biden wife, daughter to travel ban
Russia has placed an entry ban on Biden’s wife Jill and daughter Ashley, its foreign ministry has said.
The president himself and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as well as hundreds of legislators, are already blacklisted.
The foreign ministry said Russia had in total placed new bans on 25 US nationals, including well-known professor Francis Fukuyama, for having taken “Russophobic” positions.
G7 appeals to countries, companies with food stockpiles
The G7 has condemned “Russia’s war of aggression” in Ukraine, saying it is “dramatically aggravating” the global hunger crisis, which is expected to leave about 323 million people at risk of food insecurity.
The wealthy countries committed an additional $4.5bn to address global hunger, while calling on Russia to “end its blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports” and other actions that have impeded Ukrainian production and exports of grains.
The G7 also called on countries and companies with “large food stockpiles” to “make food available without distorting the markets”.
Russia says strike in central Ukraine was on weapons depot, not mall
The Russian military has said it struck a weapons depot in central Ukraine the previous day and the resulting explosions hit a closed shopping mall.
The strike hit “a depot with weapons and ammunition from the USA and European countries in the vicinity of the Kremenchuk automobile factory”, the army said in a statement.
“The explosions of ammunition for Western weapons sparked a fire in the nearby shopping mall, which was not operational at the time.”
Ukraine had said a missile strike on the crowded mall killed at least 18 people.
G7 to commit $5bn to global hunger: Official
The G7 countries will commit up to $5bn to improve global food security, a senior US official has said, as the group responds to worries in developing nations about the threat of hunger triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On the final day of the G7 summit in Germany, the official said that the US would provide over half of that sum, which would go to efforts to fight hunger in 47 countries and to fund regional organisations.
Turkish defence firm to donate 3 TB2 drones to Ukraine
Baykar, a Turkish defence firm that manufactures the globally known TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), says it will donate drones rather than sell them after a crowdfunding campaign in Ukraine raised enough funds to buy several of its combat-proven drones.
“Baykar will not accept payment for the TB2s, and will send 3 UAVs free of charge to the Ukrainian war front,” the company said.
Baykar stated that the “raised funds be remitted instead to the struggling people of Ukraine,” adding that the company appreciates the “solidarity and resolve” of Ukrainians amid the war.
“Baykar prays for a just resolution and lasting peace,” it added.
Michelin to transfer Russian activities to local management
Michelin, the French tyre maker, says it intends to transfer its activities in Russia to local management by the end of the year.
“Michelin now confirms that it is technically impossible to resume production, due in particular to supply issues, amid a context of general uncertainty”, the company said in a statement.
It added that the new entity would operate through an independent structure. The company in April said its balance sheet exposure to Russia and Ukraine still amounted to roughly €200m ($211.78m), adding that it was its goal to stop raw material imports from Russia by June.
Three killed, six injured in Mykolaiv: Mayor
Three people were killed and six injured when a community in the Mykolaiv region came under fire early on Tuesday morning, the mayor of Mykolaiv has said.
A child was among those killed in the town of Ochakiv, Alexander Senkevich wrote on Telegram.
The port city of Mykolaiv also came under “massive rocket fire” on Tuesday morning, Senkevich said, adding that information on victims and damage was being clarified.
Villages across the Mykolaiv region were shelled on Monday and Tuesday, with fires erupting but no casualties, he added.
Some 36 people still missing in Kremenchuk
The governor of the Poltava region has said 36 people are still missing after yesterday’s attack on the Kremenchuk shopping centre, as rescuers continue searching through the rubble.
“More than a thousand people worked all night on the ruins – rescuers, police, medics and volunteers,” Dmytro Lunin said in an early morning post on Telegram.
He said 25 people had been hospitalised out of a total of 59 wounded. The death toll currently stands at 18.
Russia storming Lysychansk from two directions: Governor
The governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk region says Russian forces are storming the town of Lysychansk from the west and southwest.
“They are trying to block the city from this side and take over the transport connection with Donetsk region,” Serhiy Haidai said.
Fighting is under way between the settlement of Vovchoyarivka, about 12km southwest of Lysychansk and an oil refinery, Haidai wrote on Telegram. He did not specify whether he meant the refinery in Vovchoyarivka or in Lysychansk.
A Moscow-backed separatist official reportedly said earlier Russian forces had taken control of a part of the Lysychansk oil refinery and fighting in the other parts of the refinery was continuing. The officials also did not specify whether it was the refinery inside the town of Lysychansk itself.
Russian forces in Ukraine ‘hollowed out’: UK
Russia deployed the core elements of six different armies in the battle for Severodonetsk, but achieved only “tactical success,” the United Kingdom’s defence ministry has said, adding that Russian forces are “increasingly hollowed out”.
In its latest intelligence briefing, the ministry said Russia launched its intense waves of strikes across Ukraine on June 24-26 using what included Soviet-era missiles. While these weapons were designed for strategic strikes, Russia is using them to gain tactical advance, the ministry said.
The Russian forces are accepting a “level of degraded combat effectiveness, which is probably unsustainable in the long term”, the ministry said.
Ukrainian forces are also consolidating their positions on higher ground in Lysychansk and continuing to disrupt Russian command and control “with successful strikes deep behind Russian lines,” it added.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 28 June 2022
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/3jTRlGB574
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/HomMb8vpb5
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) June 28, 2022
US ambassador to UN says Kremenchuk attack ‘absolutely sickening’
The US ambassador to the United Nations has called Russia’s attack on the Kremenchuk shopping centre “absolutely sickening”, adding that the body’s security council would meet on Tuesday to “discuss Russia’s atrocities against civilians”.
“We must continue to hold Russia accountable,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield wrote on Twitter.
US President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken also promised on Twitter to hold Russia to account for its crimes.
Sickening. Absolutely sickening. The @UN Security Council will meet tomorrow to discuss Russia’s atrocities against civilians. We must continue to hold Russia accountable. https://t.co/RuBx8IFGay
— Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield (@USAmbUN) June 27, 2022
Kremenchuk death toll climbs to 18: Governor
The death toll from the attack in Kremenchuk has climbed to 18, governor of the Poltava region has said.
“Sincere condolences to family and friends. Rescuers continue to work,” Dmytro Lunin wrote on Telegram.
Russian forces occupy part of Lysychansk oil refinery: TASS
Russian troops together with allies from the Moscow-backed self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) have occupied part of the Lysychansk Oil Refinery, TASS news agency has quoted a source close to the LPR as saying.
The source also reporting said that fighting continues in the west of the refinery.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify these claims.
Moscow’s UN ambassador accuses Ukraine of Kremenchuk attack
Moscow’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations has accused Ukraine of orchestrating the attack on the shopping centre in Kremenchuk to ensure attention ahead of the NATO summit to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Looks like we are dealing with a new Bucha-style Ukrainian provocation,” Dmitry Polyanskiy wrote on the Twitter.
Hundreds of civilians were found murdered, some with their hands behind their back, in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv, after Russian forces withdrew from the region. Russia has repeatedly accused Ukraine of staging the scenes and producing fake footage.
“One should wait for what our Ministry of Defence will say, but there are too many striking discrepancies already,” Polyanskiy said.
Ukraine says more than 40 missing in Kremenchuk attack
More than 40 people have been reported missing after a missile strike on a shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s has said.
Family members of the missing lined up at a hotel across the street where rescue workers had set up a base, as firefighters and soldiers searched for survivors in the rubble.
A survivor receiving treatment at Kremenchuk’s public hospital, Ludmyla Mykhailets, 43, said she was shopping with her husband when the blast threw her into the air. “I flew head first and splinters hit my body. The whole place was collapsing,” she told Reuters.
“It was hell,” added her husband, Mykola, 45, blood seeping through a bandage wrapped around his head.
Basketball star Brittney Griner ordered to stand trial Friday in Russia
American basketball start Brittney Griner has been ordered to stand trial by a court near Moscow on cannabis possession charges, about four and a half months after her arrest at an airport while returning to play for a Russian team.
Griner was ordered to remain in custody for the duration of her criminal trial, which is to begin on Friday. She could face 10 years in prison if convicted on charges of large-scale transportation of drugs – she was allegedly found in possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.
Her detention and trial come at an extraordinarily low point in Moscow-Washington relations. Griner was arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport less than a week before Russia sent troops into Ukraine, which aggravated already-high tensions with sweeping sanctions by the United States and Russia’s denunciation of US weapon supplies to Ukraine.
Amid the tensions, Griner’s supporters had taken a low profile in hopes of a quiet resolution, until May, when the State Department reclassified her as wrongfully detained and shifted oversight of her case to its special presidential envoy for hostage affairs — effectively the US government’s chief negotiator.
Read more here.
EC president condemns Kremenchuk attack
The president of the European Council has condemned the “horrendous and indiscriminate” attack on the shopping centre in Kremenchuk.
“Russian scare and intimidation tactics will never work,” Charles Michel wrote on Twitter adding that Ukraine would prevail with the support of G7 partners “and beyond”.
Horrendous indiscriminate strike by Russian missiles on the shopping centre in #Kremenchuk
Russian scare and intimidation tactics will never work. #Ukraine will prevail with support of its partners at @G7 and beyond.
My profound condolences to families of the victims.
— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) June 27, 2022
Ukraine’s forces starting withdrawal from Lysychansk: Moscow-backed separatists
The self-proclaimed ambassador to Russia from the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) says that units of Ukraine’s army have been seen leaving the town of Lysychansk, Russia’s state news agency TASS has reported.
“Local residents report that they are observing the beginning of the withdrawal of the armed Ukrainian formations from Lysychansk. Yesterday they tried to pass through Verkhne-Kamenka towards Siversk, but under the blows of the allied artillery and the Russian Aerospace Forces, they lost several columns,” LPR’s Rodion Miroshnik reportedly said.
The LPR is the territory of Ukraine’s Luhansk region that has been occupied by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.
Lysychansk is now Ukraine’s last stronghold in the Luhansk region after Russian forces took Severodonetsk over the weekend. If Russia takes Lysychansk, it will occupy the region.
Moscow police detain opposition politician
Moscow police have reportedly detained one of the few politicians openly opposing the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine who remains in Russia.
Ilya Yashin, a municipal deputy, was taken into custody while he walked with a journalist friend in a Moscow park, she said. The journalist, Irina Babloyan, told the TASS news agency he was taken to a detention facility in the Russian capital’s Luzhniki neighbourhood.
After charges of discrediting the Russian army were filed against him last month, Yashin said he wouldn’t run away or retract his criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Latvia-based independent Russian news site Meduza reported.
Russian authorities have been cracking down on war critics since adopting a law criminalising spreading false information about its military shortly after its troops rolled into Ukraine in late February. The offence is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Human rights advocates have counted dozens of cases.
Biden to announce extension of US troop presence in Poland: NBC
US President Joe Biden plans to announce an extension of some of the increased US troop presence in Poland and changes to US deployments in several Baltic nations that he authorised ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NBC News has cited officials as saying.
The changes to the US troop footprint could affect countries such as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, NBC reported.
To the extent there could be new troops deploying to the region on a more permanent basis, officials said the number would be minimal, but several hundred could remain in Poland on a more permanent basis, NBC reported.
Harris swears in new US ambassador to Ukraine
The new United States ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget Brink, has been officially sworn into office by Vice President Kamala Harris, following her Senate confirmation in May.
The US Senate unanimously approved the veteran diplomat on May 18, filling a critical post that has been vacant for three years, as Washington works to increase support for the government in Kyiv.
Former President Donald Trump in May 2019 abruptly recalled then US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
A Michigan native who speaks Russian, Brink was previously US ambassador to Slovakia. A diplomat for 25 years, she has worked in Uzbekistan and Georgia as well as in several senior positions across the State Department and White House National Security Council.
More than 30 wounded in Kharkiv attack: Zelenskyy
More than 30 people have been wounded in the Kharkiv attack on Monday, which killed five people, Zelenskyy has said.
“Another brutal shelling of Kharkiv, northern Saltivka took place today. At present, we know about five people killed and more than 30 were wounded, five of them children,” he said in his nighttime address.
“All are civilians, no military,” he added.
Any NATO encroachment on Crimea could lead to WWIII: Russia’s Medvedev
Any encroachment on the Crimea peninsula by a NATO member state could amount to a declaration of war on Russia which could lead to “World War III,” Russia’s former president, Dmitry Medvedev, has been quoted as saying.
“For us, Crimea is a part of Russia. And that means forever. Any attempt to encroach on Crimea is a declaration of war against our country,” Medvedev told Argumenty i Fakty, a news website owned by the city of Moscow.
“And if this is done by a NATO member-state, this means conflict with the entire North Atlantic alliance; a World War III. A complete catastrophe.”
Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, also said that if Finland and Sweden joined NATO, Russia would strengthen its borders and be “ready for retaliatory steps,” including the prospect of installing Iskander hypersonic missiles “on their threshold”.
Kremenchuk toll rises to 16 dead, 59 wounded
The toll from Russia’s missile raid on a shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk has risen to 16 dead and 59 wounded, the head of Ukraine’s emergency services has said.
“As of now, we know of 16 dead and 59 wounded, 25 of them hospitalised. The information is being updated,” Serhiy Kruk said on Telegram.
Russia ‘the largest terrorist organisation in the world’: Zelenskyy
Russia’s attack on a shopping mall in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk is “one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history,” Zelenskyy has said.
“Only totally insane terrorists, who should have no place on earth, can strike missiles at such an object,” he said, adding that the attack was not “off-target” but “calculated”.
Zelenskyy said he has urged the United States to recognise Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” a measure adopted by the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee on Friday.
“The Russian state has become the largest terrorist organisation in the world. And this is a fact. And this must be a legal fact. And everyone in the world must know that buying or transporting Russian oil, maintaining contacts with Russian banks, paying taxes and customs duties to the Russian state means giving money to terrorists,” Zelenskyy said.
Ukraine requests UN Security Council meeting Tuesday: Diplomats
Ukraine has called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council over recent Russian raids on civilian targets, the presidency of the UN body has said.
The missile attack on a shopping centre in Kremenchuk “is the main focus” of the meeting, set for Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, said a spokesperson for the Albanian mission, which currently holds the rotating Security Council presidency.
The “shelling all over Kyiv” on Sunday, which hit a residential complex, will also be discussed at the meeting, the spokesperson said.
Read all updates for June 27 here.