Explosions rock Kiev as Russia takes control of Sievierodonetsk. takes over

Explosions hit Kiev Sunday morning, a day after a flurry of missiles hit targets across Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russian troops “occupied” the main industrial center of Sievierodonetsk, thus controlling the entire city. Follow our live updates for the latest developments. All times are Paris time, GMT+2.

11:07 am: Biden says G7, NATO must ‘stay together’ against war in Russia

US President Joe Biden told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday that the West must remain united against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We have to stick together,” Biden told Scholz at a meeting ahead of the G7 summit in the German Alps. Russian President Vladimir Putin had hoped “that NATO and the G7 would somehow shatter,” Biden said. “But we haven’t done that and we won’t.”

10:49 am: Biden thanks Scholz for leadership in Ukraine crisis at G7 summit

US President Joe Biden thanked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his leadership on the response to the crisis in Ukraine during a bilateral meeting ahead of a three-day summit of the Group of Seven Rich Democracies on Sunday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had expected the West to shatter after his invasion of Ukraine, but it has and will not, Biden said in a good-humoured conversation with Scholz, who is hosting the summit in a Bavarian mountain resort. “I want to compliment you on stepping up like you did when you became chancellor,” Biden said. “Putin counted from the start that NATO and the G7 would shatter somehow, but we haven’t and we won’t,” he said.

10:44 a.m.: Explosion heard in the central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy

Explosions were heard in the central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy on Sunday, regional governor Oleksandr Skichko said on the Telegram app. He gave no further details. Cherkasy has been largely untouched by bombing since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

10:36 am: Explosion heard in southern suburbs of Kiev

Two explosions were heard in the southern suburbs of Kiev on Sunday after a rocket struck a building in the center of the capital in the early hours, a Reuters reporter said. It was not immediately possible to confirm what caused the explosion.

10:28 am: UK’s Boris Johnson: Cost of Russian victory in Ukraine is too high

World leaders must recognize the price of supporting Ukraine, including the rise in energy and food costs, but also recognize that the price of letting Russia win would be much higher, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Johnson said at the start of a Group of Seven summit on Sunday that the West must maintain its unity in the face of Moscow’s aggression. “To protect that unit, to make it work, you have to have very, very honest discussions about the implications of what’s going on, the pressure that individual friends and partners feel,” he told reporters.

“But the price of withdrawing, the price of making (Russian President Vladimir) Putin succeed, of cutting off large parts of Ukraine, of continuing his program of conquest, that price will be much, much higher. Everyone here understands. Which .”

9:38 a.m.: Five people injured in rocket attack in central Kiev, police chief says

At least five people were injured when a rocket hit a building in central Kiev on Sunday, Ukrainian police chief Ihor Klymenko said on national television.

09:14: Russian Defense Minister Shoigu visits troops involved in operation in Ukraine

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has inspected Russian troop units involved in Ukraine, the defense ministry said on Sunday. “At the command posts of Russian units, Army General Sergei Shoigu heard reports from the commanders on the current situation and actions of the Russian armed forces in key operational areas,” the ministry said in a statement. It was not immediately clear when the visit took place or whether Shoigu had visited Ukraine himself.

9:12 AM: Gazprom’s gas exports to Europe via Ukraine stable

Russian gas producer Gazprom said its gas supply to Europe via Ukraine through the entrance to Sudzha was seen on Sunday at 42.1 million cubic meters (mcm), the same as on Saturday, Russian news agencies citing the company reported.

An application to supply gas through another major access point, Sokhranovka, was again rejected by Ukraine, Gazprom said.

9:02 a.m.: G7 announces ban on imports of new Russian gold on Tuesday, US official says

The Group of Seven Rich Democracies will announce a ban on Russian gold imports on Tuesday, as part of ongoing efforts to hold Russia accountable for its war in Ukraine and attempts to evade Western sanctions, a senior US government official said Sunday.

Britain and the United States would announce the move on Sunday, followed by an official announcement on Tuesday, the official said. “The president and other G7 leaders will continue to work to hold (Russian President Vladimir) Putin accountable. Today, the US and UK announce that the G7 leaders will ban the import of Russian gold, the official said.

8:23 a.m.: Russia’s strike in Kiev aims to intimidate Ukrainians ahead of NATO summit, says mayor

A Russian missile strike that hit Kiev on Sunday was intended to intimidate Ukrainians in the days leading up to a NATO summit, the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

The first Russian attack on the capital in nearly three weeks was intended to “intimidate Ukrainians… as they approach the NATO summit” to be held in Madrid from June 28-30, said Klitschko, who replaced the explosion visited.

7:04 a.m.: Four explosions heard in the Ukrainian capital Kiev

Early Sunday, four explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, with AFP journalists reporting that a residential complex near the center of the city had been hit, causing a fire and a gray cloud of smoke. The blast happened around 6:30 am (0330 GMT), half an hour after air-raid sirens went off in the capital, which has not been under Russian bombardment for nearly three weeks.

“Ambulances and rescue workers are on the scene. Rescue and evacuation of residents is underway in two buildings,” he added. Thick smoke was seen in the affected residential area, which was cordoned off by the police. In late April, a Ukrainian Radio Liberty journalist was killed in her apartment by a Russian attack on Kiev during a visit by UN chief Antonio Guterres.

06:05 AM: Several explosions heard in Kiev’s Shevchenkivskiy district

Several explosions took place early Sunday in the Shevchenkivskiy district of the Ukrainian capital Kiev, the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app. “Ambulance and rescue workers have been sent to the scene. More detailed information – later,” Klitschko said.

5:50 am: Indonesian president visits Ukraine, Russia for peacebuilding mission

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Sunday that he will urge his Russian and Ukrainian colleagues to create space for dialogue during a peace-building mission to the countries, as “war must stop and global food chains must be reactivated”.

Before leaving for Germany to attend Monday’s G7 summit, he said he will also urge Russia’s Vladimir Putin to order an immediate ceasefire.

1:20 am: Ukrainian shelling forces Russian army to stop evacuation of Sievierodonetsk factory

Ukrainian shelling on Saturday forced Russian troops to suspend the evacuation of people from a chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk just hours after Moscow’s troops took the city, Tass news agency quoted local police as saying.

Separately, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said special forces were still in Sievierodonetsk, directing artillery fire on the Russians. The adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, spoke in a video speech.

01:00: G7 summit begins in the shadow of war in Ukraine, risk of stagflation

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday welcomed leaders of the Group of Seven Rich Democracies to a three-day summit in the Bavarian Alps that has been overshadowed by the war in Ukraine and its far-reaching consequences, from energy shortages to a food crisis.

The summit takes place against a darker backdrop than last year, when British, Canadian, French, German, Italian, Japanese and American leaders met for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic and pledged to better rebuild. Rising global energy and food prices are hitting economic growth in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The United Nations warned Friday of an “unprecedented global hunger crisis”.

Climate change, an increasingly assertive China and the rise of authoritarianism are also on the agenda. The G7 leaders are expected to show a united front to support Ukraine for as long as necessary and to increase pressure on the Kremlin – though they want to avoid sanctions that could fuel inflation and the crisis of the cost of livelihood that their own people.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)