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Latest Developments in Ukraine: June 27

A medical worker stands near a body of a man, following Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, June 27, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

10:55 p.m.:

9:20 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “Today's Russian strike at a shopping mall in Kremenchuk is one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history.”

“The Russian state has become the largest terrorist organization 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,” he said.

8:15 p.m.: Turkish drone-manufacturer Baykar, which has President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's son-in-law as one of its directors, offered three of its drones to the Ukrainian army, Agence France-Presse reported.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the company noted that a crowdfunding campaign had raised enough money to buy several of its TB2 UAVs "for Ukrainians to use in defence of their Homeland.”

"Baykar will not accept payment for the TB2s, and will send 3 UAVs free of charge to the Ukrainian war front," it added, according to AFP. "We ask that raised funds be remitted instead to the struggling people of Ukraine."

7:12 p.m.:

5:55 p.m.: Turkey’s president says he will do “whatever is necessary for our country’s rights and interests” at the NATO summit in Spain Tuesday, The Associated Press reported. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday he’d provide documents and visuals on “terror groups,” including Kurdish militant groups and the network of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen blamed for a 2016 attempted coup in Turkey, to show his counterparts the “hypocrisy” on terror.

Ankara has objected to Sweden’s and Finland’s bids to join NATO, citing what it considers to be a lax approach to groups Turkey deems national security threats, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and its Syrian extension.

Turkey has demanded the two Nordic countries extradite wanted individuals and lift arms restrictions imposed after Turkey’s 2019 military incursion into northeast Syria. “We will tell them clearly that it is not possible to expect a different attitude from Turkey unless this picture changes,” he said after a cabinet meeting in Ankara.

4:26 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent a message on Twitter Monday after the attack on a Ukrainian shopping mall, condemning Russia’s actions.

3:37 p.m.: Under its glitzy facade, the Russian high-fashion industry faces an uncertain future, Reuters reports.

Scores of Western designer labels have quit Russia as part of a backlash against Moscow's decision to send troops into Ukraine, leaving their domestic competitors to take center-stage.

But at the annual Moscow Fashion Week, which showcases the work of Russian designers, industry professionals said seizing that opportunity would not be easy.

2:30 p.m.:

2:04 p.m.: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says there can be no return to the pre-Ukraine war relationship with Russia, The Associated Press reported. Scholz said at the Group of Seven summit on Monday that with its attack on Ukraine, Russia has broken “all the rules, all the agreements we have made with each other on countries’ cooperation.”

He said G-7 leaders agree that it has led to long-term changes “which will mark international relations for a very, very long time. So it is clear that, in relations with Russia, there can be no way back to the time before the Russian attack on Ukraine.”

Scholz was speaking after hosting the leaders of five leading democratic emerging economies at the G-7 summit in the Bavarian Alps. He noted that those countries -- India, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa and Argentina -- “see the war in Ukraine from different perspectives, everyone knows that.”

He said that “that’s why it’s important that we speak to each other about it and exchange our respective points of view.” Scholz didn’t say whether their differences narrowed as a result of Monday’s discussion and took no questions.

1:47 p.m.:

1:09 p.m.: The father of a Moroccan man sentenced to death by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) on mercenary charges urged his country on Monday to open a dialogue with pro-Russia Donetsk authorities to help release his son, Reuters reported.

Tahar Saadoun said although Rabat did not recognize the DPR, it should find channels to communicate with authorities there over his son Brahim Saadoun, 21.

He was found guilty last month of "mercenary activities and committing actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order" of the DPR along with two Britons, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner.

12:36 p.m.: A Russian missile strike that hit a crowded shopping center in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk has killed at least 10 people and injured at least 40 others, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, Russia has claimed repeatedly that it is not targeting civilians in the unprovoked war it launched on Ukraine just over four months ago. It has not commented on the strike.

12:13 p.m.: A display of war-damaged Russian weapons in downtown Warsaw, Poland, serves as a reminder of the horrors of the war in Ukraine but also that Russia’s aggression can be defeated, The Associated Press reported Monday.
The display, called “For Our Freedom and Yours,” opened on the eve of a NATO summit in Madrid that aims to boost the strength of the military alliance’s rapid reaction force and military support for Ukraine.

11:53 a.m.: The United States said Monday that the G7 is closing in on a plan to force a lower price for Russian oil in what would be a major escalation of the campaign to punish the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported.

"There is also consensus emerging... that the price cap is a serious method to achieve that outcome," President Joe Biden's national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, told reporters at the G7 summit in Germany.

A senior US official described talks within the G7 -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States -- as advancing.

"We're still in final discussions with other G7 counterparts working to finalize this, but we're very close to a place where G7 leaders will have decided to urgently direct relevant ministers to develop mechanisms to set a global price cap for Russian oil," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The goal of the plan is to starve the Kremlin of its "main source of cash and force down the price of Russian oil."

11:47 a.m.: A senior U.S. defense official provided the latest assessment on the war in Ukraine Monday. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin shared some of the details on Twitter.

11:38 a.m.: Scores of civilians are feared killed or injured after a Russian rocket strike hit a crowded shopping mall in Ukraine’s central city of Kremenchuk, The Associated Press reported Monday, quoting Ukrainian officials.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a Telegram post that the number of victims was “unimaginable,” citing reports that more than 1,000 civilians were inside at the time of the attack.

Minutes later, Kyryl Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the presidential office, said in a Telegram post that at least two people were dead and about 20 were hurt, of whom nine were in serious condition.

Zelenskyy stressed that the target presented “no threat to the Russian army” and had “no strategic value.” He accused of Russia of sabotaging “people’s attempts to live a normal life, which make the occupiers so angry.”

“Russia continues to take out its impotence on ordinary civilians. It is useless to hope for decency and humanity on its part,” Zelenskyy said.

11:26 a.m.:

11:08 a.m.: Faced with a deepening personnel crisis within its military, Russia is scrambling to find fighters for its war in Ukraine and recruiting heavily from its North Caucasus region to form new units along ethnic lines who are then deployed with minimal training, according to Caucasus.Realities, a regional news outlet of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s North Caucasus Service.

Regional officials from Daghestan, Ingushetia, and Kalmykia have announced plans to form rifle companies that are each made up of soldiers from a particular Russian republic.

These national units are formed primarily of contract soldiers who have previous military training and have been targeted by local recruitment drives aimed at pressuring and enticing men of military age to join the war in Ukraine.

10:55 a.m.:

10:39 a.m.: The U.N. World Food Program said it has further reduced rations in Yemen, where millions face hunger, due to critical funding gaps, global inflation and knock-on effects of the Ukraine conflict, Reuters reported Monday.

The number of people living in near-famine conditions in the Arabian Peninsula country is expected to rise to seven million in the second half of 2022 from around five million.

Disruption to global wheat supplies due to the Ukraine war and a wheat export ban by India risk deepening Yemen's hunger crisis and pushing up food price inflation, which had already doubled in just two years in some parts of the country.

10:28 a.m.: U.N. World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley warned on Monday that the global food crisis, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, could trigger starvation and social unrest if not immediately addressed.

10:14 a.m.: Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the chair of the Group of 20 (G20) nations, will urge Russia and Ukraine to rekindle peace talks, and seek ways to free up exports of grain to global markets when he visits Moscow and Kyiv in coming days, Reuters reported Monday.

President Widodo, better known as Jokowi, is one of six world leaders the United Nations appointed as "champions" of a Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG), formed to address the threat of an "unprecedented wave of hunger and destitution" resulting from the war in Ukraine.

9:56 a.m.:

9:42 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, in Dushanbe on Tuesday as Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, launched more than four months ago, continues to raise concerns in Central Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on Monday that the talks will be held in a face-to-face format. He did not elaborate.

Putin's visit to the Tajik capital will take place three days after he told another ally, Belarus's authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka, that Moscow will supply Minsk with an Iskander-M mobile missile system with a range of up to 500 kilometers as the standoff between Russia and the West over the war in Ukraine escalates.

Russia, Belarus, and Tajikistan, along with Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

9:29 a.m.:

9:14 a.m.: President Maia Sandu traveled to Ukraine on Monday in her first trip to Moldova's neighbor since start of the war and visited the towns of Bucha and Irpin -- sites of alleged Russian atrocities against civilians, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

“No matter the economic costs, no matter the political costs we have to stop war and we have to make sure that these kinds of atrocities will never repeat,” Maia Sandu said. She said it was “heartbreaking” to hear accounts from witnesses and victims of the war.

"Was left speechless by the level of violence & destruction we saw," Sandu wrote separately in English on Twitter. "It’s an unimaginable tragedy & we wholeheartedly wish the brave selfless Ukrainian people peace, freedom & prosperity, & life of their own choosing."

Sandu was expected to meet with her Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during her visit, her office said on social media.

8:58 a.m.:

8:41 a.m.: Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies on Monday pledged to stand with Ukraine "for as long as it takes" by cranking up sanctions on Russia and backing security commitments for Kyiv in a post-war settlement, Reuters reported.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the global economic fallout such as soaring energy and food prices has dominated this year's summit of the leaders of Germany, the United States, France, Italy, Canada, Japan and Britain.

"We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes," said the statement.

The statement was issued on the second day of the summit taking place at a castle in the Bavarian Alps, shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed G7 leaders on the war via video link.

The G7 leaders said they would continue to coordinate efforts to meet Ukraine's urgent military needs and were ready to work with interested countries and institutions on sustained security commitments.

It was up to Ukraine to decide on a future peace settlement, free from external pressure or influence, they said, but they stood ready to support an international reconstruction plan, drawn up and implemented by Ukraine in coordination with partners.

8:22 a.m.:

8:14 a.m.: One of the last Ukrainian defenders of Sievierodonetsk said he withdrew in a boat, bitter to be leaving after weathering a weeks-long Russian onslaught on the ruined city but happy to be alive as he and others crossed the river to higher ground, Reuters reported.

Russian forces fully occupied the frontline eastern city on Saturday, both sides said, confirming Kyiv's biggest battlefield setback for more than a month following some of the war's bloodiest fighting.

"It was a shame of course because a lot of effort was put into defending it - it went on for months," Danylo, a 24-year-old soldier who said he was among almost the last to leave, said. "But... we're not too upset as we also want to live."

7:51 a.m.:

7:47 a.m.: Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson will discuss their stalled NATO bids with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on June 28 ahead of a summit of the 30-member alliance in Madrid, Helsinki said on Monday, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

"President Niinisto will meet tomorrow in Madrid with Turkish President Erdogan, Swedish Prime Minister Andersson and NATO Secretary General [Jens] Stoltenberg," the Finnish presidency tweeted.

It said the meeting "will be preceded today (June 27) by a round of talks between Finnish, Swedish, and Turkish officials hosted by NATO in Brussels."

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted Finland and Sweden to apply to join NATO.

7:35 a.m.:

7:26 a.m.: The Group of Seven rich democracies will commit on Tuesday to a new package of coordinated actions meant to raise pressure on Russia over its war in Ukraine, and will finalize plans for a price cap on Russian oil, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

"The dual objectives of G7 leaders have been to take direct aim at Putin's revenues, particularly through energy, but also to minimize the spillovers and the impact on the G7 economies and the rest of the world," the U.S. official said on the sidelines of the annual G7 summit.

G7 nations, which generate nearly half the world's economic output, want to crank up pressure on Russia without stoking already soaring inflation that is causing strains at home and savaging the global south, according to Reuters.

7:04 a.m.: A special train with medical facilities constantly runs between eastern and western Ukraine. It has an intensive care unit, beds for 30 seriously ill patients, its own oxygen facilities, and a team of doctors and nurses.

6:51 a.m.: A U.S. official said news that Russia defaulted on its foreign sovereign bonds for the first time since the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 showed how effective Western sanctions have been, Reuters reported.

"This morning's news around the finding of Russia's default, for the first time in more than a century, situates just how strong the actions are that the U.S., along with allies and partners, have taken, as well as how dramatic the impact has been on Russia's economy," the official added.

The Kremlin, which has the funds to make payments thanks to rich energy revenues, swiftly rejected the U.S. statement, accusing the West of driving it into an artificial default. In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia made bond payments due in May but the fact they had been blocked by Euroclear because of Western sanctions on Russia was "not our problem".

Few expected the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine to elicit such a ferocious response from the West, which has all but severed Russia from global financial and payment systems. Here is a history looking back at Russia's major debt events over the past century.

6:47 a.m.:

6:31 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Group of Seven (G7) leaders to do everything in their power to end Russia's invasion of his country by the end of the year as Ukraine's military says it continues to fend off an attempted encirclement in the eastern city of Lysychansk, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Addressing the G7 summit in Germany via video link on Monday, Zelenskyy told the leaders of the West's most advanced economies that he wanted the war to end before the winter sets in and battle conditions will make it tougher for his troops as they mount their fightback, several diplomats were quoted as saying by international media outlets after the speech.

The G7 group of rich nations is expected to issue a statement of support for Ukraine, including new sanctions commitments, before the summit ends on June 28.

6:23 a.m.:

6:15 a.m.: Russia sanctioned 43 Canadian citizens on Monday, barring them from entering the country in a tit-for-tat response to Western sanctions on Moscow, Reuters reported.

The list, published by the foreign ministry, included the chairperson of Canada’s governing Liberal Party, Suzanne Cowan, and the former governor of the Bank of England and Bank of Canada, Mark Carney.

In April, Moscow sanctioned 61 Canadian officials and journalists. It has barred dozens of other Western politicians, journalists and business figures from entering Russia.

5:30 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy on Monday asked for anti-aircraft defense systems, more sanctions on Russia and security guarantees as he addressed leaders of the Group of Seven summit, a European official told Reuters.

Addressing the summit in the Bavarian Alps via video link, Zelenskiyy also asked for help to export grain from Ukraine and for reconstruction aid, the European official said, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

5 a.m.: The United States announced Monday new sanctions it and other G-7 countries are enacting against Russia in response to its war in Ukraine, including measures to cut off Russia from materials and services needed by Russia’s industrial and technology sectors.

The White House said the United States 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.”

The announcement came as G-7 leaders met in Germany where they awaited an address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr 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.

4:30 a.m.: Regional authorities urged civilians on Monday to urgently evacuate the eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk which is being attacked by Russian forces.

“The situation in the city is very difficult,” Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region which includes Lysychansk, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

4 a.m.: A price cap on Russian energy imports pushed for by the United States would only be effective with sufficient support internationally, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in Luxembourg on Monday ahead of a meeting of EU energy ministers.

“This is a good idea if enough countries take part,” Habeck said speaking to reporters.

3:30 a.m.: Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday that France is working on energy contingency plans because of cuts to gas flows from Russia which have hit the European market, but it has not yet had to put them into action, according to Reuters.

Le Maire said talks were already underway on the issue with French Energy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher, although details had still to be finalized. Russia has reduced gas flows to a dozen European countries in response to unprecedented EU sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

“We will determine which companies are of the most strategic importance, namely those for whom we can allow gas to be cut off and those for whom we cannot allow any cuts,” Le Maire told RMC Radio, Reuters reported.

3:10 a.m.: Britain’s environment minister George Eustice said on Monday that his country is providing technology to ensure that any wheat stolen from Ukraine by Russia does not make it to the global market, Reuters reported.

Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine and blockade of its Black Sea ports has prevented the country, traditionally one of the world’s top food producers, from exporting much of the more than 20 million tons of grain stored in its silos.

Last week Turkey said it was investigating claims that Ukrainian grain had been stolen by Russia and shipped to countries including Turkey, but added the probes had not found any stolen shipments so far.

Russia has previously denied allegations that it has stolen Ukrainian grain.

“Russia, it appears, are stealing some wheat from those stores,” Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told Sky News.

“What the U.K. government is doing is making available the technology that we’ve got to be able to test the provenance of wheat. We’re working with other countries including Australia on this so that we can ensure that stolen Ukrainian wheat does not find a route to market.”

Eustice said Britain was also looking at what it could do to help Ukraine repair its railways to get the wheat out of Ukraine via land.

General Richard Barrons, former commander of Joint Forces Command, said it is “impossible” to move Ukraine’s grain stores by sea without an agreement from Russia.

2:30 a.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden comes to the Group of Seven summit with the war in Ukraine showing no signs of stopping and China’s ambition spreading. The White House says they are committed to countering these issues. VOA White House correspondent Anita Powell reports from Telfs, Austria.

G-7 Summit to Address Global Threats
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2:05 a.m.:

1:15 a.m.: Russian forces were fighting on Monday to capture Lysychansk, the last major city still held by Ukrainian troops in eastern Luhansk province, after Moscow-backed separatists said they were advancing on multiple fronts, Reuters reported.

In a victory for Kremlin's campaign, Lysychansk's twin city of Sievierodonetsk, the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting, fell to pro-Russian forces on Saturday. Russian missiles also struck Kyiv for the first time in weeks on Sunday, attacks condemned by U.S. President Joe Biden as “barbarism.”

Tass news agency on Sunday quoted a separatist official as saying Moscow's forces had entered Lysychansk from five directions and were isolating Ukrainian defenders.

Reuters could not confirm the report.

1 a.m.: Russia moved closer Sunday to defaulting on international debt payments for the first time in a century.

Interest payments totaling $100 million on two bonds were originally due May 27, but carried a 30-day grace period.

Russia has struggled to make such payments due to restrictions on its financial activities related to sanctions imposed in response to its invasion of Ukraine that began in late February.

12:30 a.m.: The United States and other G-7 countries are expected to announce on Tuesday that they will ban imports of gold from Russia, according to a report in The Washington Post.

The intent of the move is to further isolate Russia from the international financial system, reported the newspaper.

12:01 a.m.: Russia may be on track for its first major external sovereign debt default, two sources told Reuters. This is because some Taiwanese holders of Russian Eurobonds have not received interest due on May 27 after a grace period expired on Sunday evening.

Russia was due to make $100 million in coupon payments on two Eurobonds on May 27. Sweeping sanctions imposed by Western capitals on Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 as well as countermeasures by Moscow have all but severed the country from the global financial ecosystem. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation.”

Despite the plethora of curbs, Russia had managed to make payments on seven bonds since its invasion of Ukraine before the latest interest payments. Russian debt makes up less than half a percent of Taiwanese bond holdings, Reuters reported.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters.