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Russia-Ukraine war LIVE: Erdogan to meet leaders of Sweden, Finland before NATO summit

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The Russia-Ukraine war has entered day 125 with a barrage of missile attacks on Kyiv, the first time in three weeks. The random strikes destroyed a residential infrastructure, killing at least one. Meanwhile, leaders at the G7 summit focused on taking vital actions to help resume grain supplies out of Ukraine. Amid this, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to visit Tajikistan and Turkmenistan

Russia Ukraine war

IMAGE: AP

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06:33 IST, June 29th 2022

Australia could reopen Kyiv embassy, PM Albanese indicates

Australia is considering reopening is embassy in Ukraine, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid. He said that he would “like to have a presence on the ground there to assist and to be able to provide that on-ground presence”. 


“Australia is considering that I’ll have more to say on that in coming days and weeks,” he added. 

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05:32 IST, June 29th 2022

Macron says Russia can’t win in Ukraine after strike on mall

France’s president denounced Russia’s fiery airstrike on a crowded shopping mall in Ukraine as a “new war crime” Tuesday and vowed the West’s support for Kyiv would not waver, saying Moscow “cannot and should not win” the war.


The strike, which killed at least 18 people in the central city of Kremenchuk, came as leaders from the Group of Seven nations met in Europe. It was part of an unusually intense barrage of Russian fire across Ukraine, including in the capital, Kyiv, that renewed international attention as the war drags on.


Speaking at the end of the G-7 summit in Germany, French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to address that concern, vowing that the seven leading industrialized democracies would support Ukraine and maintain sanctions against Russia “as long as necessary, and with the necessary intensity.”


“Russia cannot and should not win,” he said. He called Monday’s attack on the mall “a new war crime.”


Source: Associated Press

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05:23 IST, June 29th 2022

Authorities updated death toll for Kremenchuk shopping centre assault

At least 20 people were killed and 59 injured as a result of attack.



“They wanted to kill as many people as possible in a peaceful city, in a regular shopping mall,” Zelensky said.



Video: Volodymyr Zelensky/YouTube


— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) June 28, 2022



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04:49 IST, June 29th 2022

Zelenskyy asks to enshrine Russia ‘terrorist state’ at UN

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the UN Security Council wherein he asked the United Nations to enshrine the Russian Federation as a “terrorist state.” Ukraine’s president, in his speech, derided Russia’s missile attack on the crowded shopping mall in central Ukraine, which he said cliamed lives of the civilians. He also called for Russia to be removed as a permanent member of the UN. 


While the UN did not yet have a legal definition of the term “terrorist state,” said Zelenskyy, it shall gauge the warring nation’s actions that coincide with one, Ukraine’s leader purported. Russia war “demonstrates not only the meaning of the concept, but also the urgent necessity to enshrine it legally at the level of the United Nations, and punish any terrorist state,” said Zelesnkyy.  




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04:25 IST, June 29th 2022

Swedish PM says NATO bid to fetch ‘more security’ to alliance

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson says Tuesday’s deal with Turkey on her country’s and Finland’s membership of NATO will bring “more security” to the alliance.


“It’s good for Finland and Sweden. And it’s good for NATO, because we would be security providers to NATO,” Andersson told The Associated Press.


She said completing the process of membership should be done “the sooner the better, not only for Sweden and Finland but for other NATO countries,” she said. “But there are 30 parliaments that need to approve this and you never know,” Andersson added.


Asked if the Swedish public will see the agreement as a concession on issues like extraditions of Kurdish militants regarded by Ankara as terrorists, Andersson said Swedes “will see that this is good for the security of Sweden.” Andersson said that her country’s contribution to the alliance will potentially be a strong military and navy. She said that Sweden is in the midst of the largest military buildup since the 1950s.


Andersson said she wasn’t too worried about Moscow’s reaction to Tuesday’s announcement: “Russia has reacted rather mildly so far,” Andersson said. “Maybe they see the fact that we have been a partner to NATO for quite some time … that maybe they don’t see this as quite such a big step.”


Source: Associated Press

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04:14 IST, June 29th 2022

Spain’s king hosts NATO leaders’ gala dinner

Russia’s war on Ukraine has dominated a gala dinner hosted by Spain’s King Felipe VI to welcome some 40 heads of state and government on the eve of the NATO summit in Madrid.


“War has returned to Europe,” he told guests Tuesday. “Russia’s unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine is a flagrant violation of the territorial integrity of a sovereign State. No country is unaffected by this war.”


US President Joe Biden sat to the king’s right in the elaborately decorated dining room of the 18th century Royal Palace of Madrid. Felipe said the palace had never had such a large number of world leaders together. In all, some 60 people were at the table.

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03:26 IST, June 29th 2022

Biden ‘didn’t offer Turkey any concession’ for Sweden, Finland’s membership

A senior US 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.


The official said Tuesday that President Joe Biden made a deliberate choice to keep the US from being a party to the negotiations or being in a position where Turkey could ask for inducements from the US.  The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the issue, said Turkey never asked the US for anything as part of the talks. But the official said the US played a crucial role in helping bring the two parties closer together.


Biden spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Tuesday morning at the behest of Sweden and Finland to help encourage the talks. The leaders of Sweden and Finland reached out to Biden late Tuesday just before accepting the agreement.

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03:22 IST, June 29th 2022

Russia plans to capture the entire southern Ukraine, Moldova: Kyiv’s military press

Russia is planning to capture the entire south of Ukraine with further occupation of Moldova, Mykolaiv regional military press officer said in a statement. Dmytro Pletenchuk said that the economic blockade of Ukraine ‘s ports in the Black Sea “is the main reason for the Russians’ attacks on our southern cities. And, of course, they dream of a land corridor to the unrecognized Transdniestria with the subsequent occupation of Moldova.”


Elsewhere in Kharkiv,  the Ukrainian Armed Forces repulsed an Russian assaults in the areas of Dementiyevka, Dovhalevka and Zaliman. 

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03:14 IST, June 29th 2022

Ukraine targets Russia’s arms depot with US supplied HIMARS

Ukrainian forces have struck Russia’s arms depot in Moscow-controlled territory in the Luhansk region with US supplied HIMARS Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). 


“The first case of the use of the American MLRS M142HIMARS, which was so advertised, was detected in the LPR today,” the spokesman for the People’s Militia of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), Lieutenant Colonel Andrey Marochko said in an interview with state affiliated broadcaster Russia 1.


“At 7:20 a.m., from the direction of the settlement of Artemovsk there was as strike on Perevalsk. This is the deep rear. I also think this shows a lot right now, about what Ukraine is doing, because, firstly, we confirmed that these systems are in the Donbass,” he said. 



Image credit: AP

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03:14 IST, June 29th 2022

Russia sanctions Biden’s family, US senators for ‘Russophobia’

In response to the constantly expanding US sanctions against Russian politicians and public figures, Russia sanctioned 25 American citizens, including senators “responsible for formulating the Russophobic policy.” The sanctions includes members of McFaul-Yermak International Expert Group, which drafts recommendations concerning anti-Russia restrictions, as well as family members of US President Joe Biden.


View the complete list of sanctioned Americans by Russian Federation here 

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02:46 IST, June 29th 2022

Germany, Netherlands to supply six self-propelled howitzers to Kyiv

Germany and the Netherlands announced that they will supply additional six self-propelled armored howitzers to Ukraine, the defense ministers of both countries said at the Madrid summit of NATO. German Foreign Ministry that the two nations will provide three of the artillery weapons in addition to the 12 howitzers already dispatched to Ukraine to counter Russian aggression. 


“The self-propelled howitzer 2000 is one of the most advanced artillery pieces in the world,” the ministry said.

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02:44 IST, June 29th 2022

Biden congratulates Finland, Sweden for NATO membership

Congratulations to Finland, Sweden, and Turkey on signing a trilateral memorandum – a crucial step towards a NATO invite to Finland and Sweden, which will strengthen our Alliance and bolster our collective security – and a great way to begin the Summit. pic.twitter.com/ug47DhRDGl


— President Biden (@POTUS) June 28, 2022



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02:16 IST, June 29th 2022

UK PM calls Sweden, Finland joining NATO ‘fantastic news’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed Turkey’s decision to support Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bids. He took to his twitter handle to call the membership a “fantastic news.”


“Fantastic news as we kick off the NATO Summit. Sweden and Finland’s membership will make our brilliant alliance stronger and safer,” Johnson wrote. 



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02:11 IST, June 29th 2022

Turkey says Finland, Sweden ‘will not support terrorist organizations’

As Turkey signed a trilateral memorandum with Finland and Sweden at the NATO summit in Madrid, supporting the two nordic nations’ membership bids at the alliance, it said that Helsinki and Stockholm have agreed to not provide support to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, also known as YPG. 


Turkey deems the YPG and other related Kurdish organizations as “terrorist.” 


“Turkey confirms its long-standing support for NATO’s Open Door policy, and agrees to support at the 2022 Madrid Summit the invitation of Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO,” the memorandum document read. 


🆕 Türkiye 🇹🇷, Finland 🇫🇮, and Sweden 🇸🇪 sign agreement paving the way for Finnish and Swedish #NATO membership#NATOSummit


— NATO (@NATO) June 28, 2022



Turkish presidency said in the memorandum that its government extends its full support to Finland and Sweden against threats to their national security. Both countries, it said, have agreed not to support the separatist militant Kurdistan’s Workers Party, also known as PKK.  


Finland and Sweden also agreed to remove the arms embargoes and made renewed commitment of intelligence sharing mechanism to help Ankara in conducting the counterterrorism operations against the terrorist organizations.  Finland and Sweden have also agreed to address Turkey’s extradition requests of terrorists “expeditiously and thoroughly.” They will also probe the financing and recruitment activities of the PKK, Ankara stated in the memorandum. 


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02:00 IST, June 29th 2022

Turkey signs ‘trilateral memorandum of understanding’ with Sweden, Finland

Finland and Sweden, the two Nordic nations, will end their decades of neutrality and are set to join NATO. Turkey, that had earlier raised objection to their bid for membership and had blocked Finland and Sweden’s accession to the Alliance, signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding with Sweden and Finland Tuesday at the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain. 


It is to be noted that Russia had warned against Finland and Sweden joining NATO as it would expand and bring the defensive military alliance “on its doorstep.” Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had labelled the move as a “mistake” that would have “far-reaching consequences.” 



Image credit: Associated Press


Here’s what happened


Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said at earlier meetings with Finnish and Swedish delegations that the talks with two nordic states had not been “at the expected level” and that it alleviates Turkey’s security concerns. “As long as Tayyip Erdogan is at the head of the Republic of Turkey, we cannot say ‘yes’ to countries that support terror joining NATO,” he had told reporters on the plane following a visit to Azerbaijan according to Hurriyet newspaper. 


Turkey’s concerns


Ankara had accused Sweden and Finland of harboring Kurd groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and others it deems terrorists, and accuses of hindering its military operations in Syria. The two countries had halted arms exports to Ankara in 2019. “They are not honest or sincere. We cannot repeat the mistake made in the past regarding countries that embrace and feed such terrorists in NATO, which is a security organization,” Erdogan had said. Turkey that hosts the second-largest army in the NATO alliance, had said that its demands must be met. 


Turkey’s demands in exchange of Sweden, Finland’s NATO bid approval


Ankara, which joined NATO three years after it was established in 1949, has been opposing Sweden and Finland’s NATO bid due to resentment of the nordic countries’ support of the PKK/YPG/PYD Kurdish terrorist organisations. Erdogan had earlier affirmed that while Turkey fully supports NATO’s open-door policy based on the Alliance’s founding document’s Article 10, the two countries had not heeded Turkey’s demands to extradite more than 33 terrorists wanted in Ankara for the July 2016 coup.


The PKK, which seeks an independent state in Turkey, had attempted to overthrow Erdogan’s ruling government. President Tayyip Erdogan had asserted that NATO must not expect Turkey to approve Baltic nation Sweden and Finland’s membership bid without them first extraditing the PKK “terrorists.” 


PKK/YPG/PYD terrorist organisations maintain their headquarters in Damascus, and are also supported by Syria’s Bashar-al-Assad regime, as well as Iran, Iraq, and Libya. Erdogan also recently derided the US for lifting sanctions on regions in Syria that are a stronghold of the nationalist YPG/PKK terror group. Washington labels these what it refers to as ‘militia groups’ as the “allies” in the fight against ISIS/Daesh in Syria. 


Erdogan warned NATO Chief Stoltenberg that Sweden and Finland must demonstrate that they do not support terrorists, are willing to cooperate with Alliance’s members’ concerns. Ankara demanded that the sanctions against Turkey must be repealed.


NATO’s response 


NATO chief Stoltenberg, for his part, stressed that Turkey, whom he described is an essential NATO ally, must have its security obligations met as no other country has faced the terrorism issue so much as Ankara.  Notably, Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in May. 


NATO chief stressed that after Turkey’s security guarantees are met, all 30 NATO member nations must vote in favour of the accession. In late May, Turkey convened meetings in Ankara with the Swedish and Finnish delegations to discuss their NATO applications. In June, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Stoltenberg appealed to Ankara that adding Sweden and Finland into NATO would strengthen the alliance. 


Turkey signs ‘trilateral memorandum of understanding’ with Sweden and Finland at NATO summit in Madrid


“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 announced at the NATO summit in Madrid. NATO chief said after the signing of the trilateral memorandum that he was “confident” Sweden and Finland becoming NATO members is “something that will take place.”


“Welcoming Finland and Sweden into the alliance will make them safer, NATO stronger and the Euro Atlantic area more secure. This is vital as we face the biggest security crisis in decades,” NATO chief said. 


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01:40 IST, June 29th 2022

Finland, Sweden will join NATO as compromise reached with Turkey

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01:35 IST, June 29th 2022

NATO chief hails ‘historic decision’ of Sweden, Finland joining NATO

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01:33 IST, June 29th 2022

US suggests ways to bolster NATO against Russian aggression in Madrid

President Joe Biden announced ways to bolster NATO against Russian aggression speaking alongside Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez during the Madrid Summit of NATO. United States will send two new destroyers to the Rota Naval Station in Spain increasing the total number to six, Biden said at the conference. 


“As I said before the war started, if Putin attacked Ukraine, the United States would enhance our force posture in Europe and respond to the reality of a new European security environment,” US President remarked. 


“Together, the new commitments will constitute an impressive display of allied unity and resolve and NATO’s 360 degree approach to our security.”

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01:30 IST, June 29th 2022

Macron says oil prices ‘untenable’ in Europe as Russia slows pipeline exports

French President Emmanuel Macron is calling on oil-producing countries to boost output and thereby lower world prices pushed up by the war in Ukraine. He said that the prices are putting European economies in an “untenable” situation. Speaking at the end of a G-7 summit in Germany on Tuesday, Macron welcomed the group’s discussions on a price cap for oil as “a very good idea,” but added: “The difficulty is technical.”


He said it’s crucial to include all major oil-buying countries in any cap agreement for it to be effective. Macron said he discussed boosting oil production with the president of the United Arab Emirates, and expressed hope that US President Joe Biden gets a “positive response” in talks about oil in an upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia.


Macron said oil producers have an “immense responsibility given our collective dependence on them.”


He called for expanding Europe’s liquefied natural gas processing capacity and lashed out at speculation by energy traders he called “war profiteers.”


Source: Associated Press

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01:23 IST, June 29th 2022

Canada PM says NATO’s rapid reaction force boost ‘not meant to provoke Russia’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called NATO plans to boost its rapid reaction force “measured and proportional” and not meant to provoke Russia. Speaking Tuesday at the end of a G-7 summit in Germany and before traveling to Spain for a NATO summit, Trudeau said Canada, is “committed to making sure we continue to stand up against Russian threats and Russian posturing.”


According to the government, about 1,400 Canadian troops are currently deployed in central and eastern Europe as part of NATO assurance and deterrence measures.


“The response that we are taking to Russia’s illegal actions is measured and proportional,” he said, adding it should not be considered a “provocative” move.


“We are looking at ensuring that Russia knows we will be there to defend democracies,” Trudeau said.


Source: Associated Press

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01:21 IST, June 29th 2022

NATO says ‘have agreement’ for Finland, Sweden to join alliance

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has declared that talks for Sweden and Finland’s bid to join the Alliance have been succesful with  Turkey.  “I am pleased to announce we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join Nato,” Stoltenberg said at the NATO summit in Madrid. 






🆕 Türkiye 🇹🇷, Finland 🇫🇮, and Sweden 🇸🇪 sign agreement paving the way for Finnish and Swedish #NATO membership#NATOSummit


— NATO (@NATO) June 28, 2022



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00:47 IST, June 29th 2022

UK PM asks NATO to increase military spending for Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is urging other NATO allies to increase their military spending — but is being accused by his own defense minister of underfunding the UK’s armed forces.


Britain is among nine of the 30 NATO countries that meets the alliance’s target of spending at least 2% of Gross Domestic Product on defense. Johnson said Tuesday that the current figure is 2.3%, adding that he would be “having a conversation” about spending at this week’s NATO summit in Madrid.


But Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the military had been underfunded for years by successive governments and had been fed “a diet of smoke and mirrors, hollowed-out formations and fantasy savings, when in the last few years threats from states have started to increase.”


Source: Associated Press

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00:43 IST, June 29th 2022

US First Lady visits Ukraine refugees with Spain Queen Letizia in Madrid

US first Lady Jill Biden, accompanied by Spain’s Queen Letizia, has visited a welcome center for Ukrainian refugees in Madrid and talked with several young people staying there.




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00:25 IST, June 29th 2022

Kyiv mayor appeals for more help, tells world ‘you’re going to be next’

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko has made a powerful plea for Western allies meeting in Madrid to provide his country with “whatever it takes” to stop the war in Ukraine.


“Wake up, guys. This is happening now. You are going to be next, this is going to be knocking on your door just in the blink of an eye,” Klitschko said, addressing reporters at the venue in Madrid where NATO leaders are meeting.


Klitschko and his brother, Wladimir, were in Madrid on Tuesday to attend a defense think tank forum ahead of the 2-day summit. Klitschko, who said he had no plans to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden at the NATO meeting, rejected the idea that Ukraine should make any territorial sacrifices to end the war.




Source/Image: Associated Press

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00:18 IST, June 29th 2022

Macron says Russia ‘can’t win in Ukraine’ after strike on mall

France’s president denounced Russia’s fiery airstrike on a crowded shopping mall in Ukraine as a “new war crime” Tuesday and vowed the West’s support for Kyiv would not waver, saying Moscow “cannot and should not win” the war. The strike, which killed at least 18 people in the central city of Kremenchuk, came as leaders from the Group of Seven nations met in Europe.


It was part of unusually intense barrage of Russian fire across Ukraine, including in the capital of Kyiv, that drew new attention to a war that some fear could fade from attention a s it drags on. Speaking at the end of the G-7 summit in Germany, French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to address that concern, vowing that the seven leading industrialized democracies would support Ukraine and maintain sanctions against Russia “as long as necessary, and with the necessary intensity.”


“Russia cannot and should not win,” he said. He called Monday’s attack on the mall “a new war crime.”


Source: Associated Press

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00:03 IST, June 29th 2022

Russia ‘most urgent and direct threat to EU,’ UK Army Chief warns

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on Tuesday warned that Russia has now become the “most direct and urgent threat to Europe, our allies and their shores.” Wallace told reporters in UK, “I am serious when I say there is a very real threat of Russia turning against wider Europe.” 



British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. Credit: Associated Press

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23:59 IST, June 28th 2022

Ukraine’s first lady says her country ‘cannot see end to suffering’

In an interview to the American broadcaster CNN, Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady said that her country cannot see the end to the suffering of its people as the war has ravaged the Ukrainian towns and wreaked atrocities on the civilians. She emphasized that nearly five months of war “have forced Ukrainians to adjust their expectations.” Many are expecting the the likelihood of a “marathon,” to this ongoing war, said Olena Zelenska. 


“It’s very difficult to hold on for five months. We need to accumulate our strength, we need to save our energy. We cannot see the end of our suffering,” she told the outlet. 

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23:55 IST, June 28th 2022

West’s arms supplies will drag conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s FM warns

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned that the west pumping Ukraine with more weapons will drag the conflict for even longer.  Speaking at a news conference during a visit to Turkmenistan today, Lavrov said Russia “did not target a shopping centre in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk yesterday.” He said that the mall was empty at the time Russian froces atacked the  arms depot storing Western weapons. and because the mall was next to the depot the fire eventually spread. 36  people are still missing after the shopping centre in Kremenchuk was destroyed by Russian missiles. 

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23:35 IST, June 28th 2022

21 people still missing after Kremenchuk attack, says Ukraine’s interior min

Ukraine’s interior minister Denys Monastyrskiy has said that as many as 21 people are still missing after Russia’s misisle attack on Kremenchuk shopping centre. “We have the bodies of 18 people, 21 people are still missing,” Monastyrskiy said. At least 18 bodies that have been recovered so far. 

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23:20 IST, June 28th 2022

EU begins delivery of 90 off-road trucks to Ukraine’s Armed Forces

European Union on Tuesday began the delivery of more than 90 off-road trucks to the Ukraine’s Armed Forces to counter the Russian aggression. In a statement posted on its website, EU emphasized that it has started to deliver more than 90 off-road trucks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the ‘European Peace Facility’.


“The trucks will support medical, engineering and logistic units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” the statement read.


EU notified that the logistical equipment is part of a broader Assistance Measure worth EUR 31 million adopted on December 2 to support Ukraine.

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