Macron says Russia can’t win in Ukraine after mall strike – Associated Press

KERMENCHUK, Ukraine (Associated Press) – France’s president denounced Russia’s air strike on a crowded shopping mall in Ukraine as a “new war crime” on Tuesday and vowed that Western support for Kiev would not wane, 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 of 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, KyivHe renewed international interest as the war continued.

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

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

As they have done in other attacks, Russian officials claimed that the shopping center was not the target.

In a hypothetical address to the UN Security Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had become a terrorist state and called for it to be expelled from the United Nations. He also urged the United Nations to establish an international tribunal to investigate Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Zelensky ended his speech by asking all present to stand in silence in honor of the “tens of thousands” of Ukrainian children and adults who died in the war. All members of the council, including Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, ascended.

How to confront Russia and support Ukraine will also be the focus of this week’s NATO summit, whose support was crucial to Kyiv’s ability to hold off Moscow’s larger and better-equipped forces. However, Ukrainian leaders say they need more and better weapons if they are to fend off Russia, which is pressing an all-out offensive in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

As Macron spoke, rescuers combed the charred rubble of the shopping center, Which officials said was shocked when there were more than 1,000 shoppers and workers inside.

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Katrina Romachina, a local, told The Associated Press that she had just arrived at the mall when she was hit by an explosion. When another explosion occurred about 10 minutes later, she realized she needed to escape.

“I ran away from the epicenter with all my strength,” she said. “You have to be a real monster” to hit a shopping mall, she added, battling tears.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister, Denis Monastirsky, said many of those inside quickly fled the building when the sirens went off, taking shelter across the street. He said many of the bodies of those who could not get out in time were too burnt to identify.

In addition to the 18 dead, authorities said 59 were wounded, while 21 were still missing.

The attack referred to strikes earlier in the war that hit theatreStationhospital. Zelensky called it “one of the most daring terrorist attacks in the history of Europe”.

Rocket attacks continued elsewhere in Ukraine, with authorities in the city of Dnipro reporting that workers at a diesel car repair shop were trapped under rubble after a strike from a cruise missile fired from the Black Sea, Ukrainian news agencies reported. The agencies said that the Ukrainian army was able to intercept and destroy other missiles fired at the city.

With condemnation coming from many quarters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made a defiant note, saying that Russia would continue its offensive until it achieved its goals. He said hostilities could stop “before the end of the day” if Ukraine surrendered and met Russia’s demands, including recognition of control over territory it had seized by force.

A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov, claimed that warplanes fired precision-guided missiles at a warehouse containing Western weapons and ammunition, blowing up the mall and setting it on fire. Ukrainian authorities said that in addition to the direct hit on the mall, a factory was bombed, but they denied that it contained weapons.

Konashenkov also falsely claimed that the mall was not in use.

One survivor, Oleksandr, a mall employee, told the AP from a hospital bed that the mall was overcrowded with customers. He remembered going out with a colleague for a cigarette when the air raid siren went off.

“There was a black tunnel, smoke, fire,” he said. “I started crawling. I saw the sun there, and my mind was telling me I needed to save myself.”

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Irina Venediktova, said the missile attack was one of Russia’s “crimes against humanity”. She stressed the need for all Ukrainians to remain alert and to expect a similar strike “every minute”.

On Tuesday, Russian forces shelled the Black Sea city of Ochakiv, damaging apartment buildings and killing two, including a 6-year-old child. Six others, including four children, were injured. One of them, a 3-month-old baby, is in a coma, according to officials.

An unusually intense wave of fire broke out with the leaders of the Group of Seven He pledged continued support for Ukraine and prepared for new sanctions against Russia, including capping oil prices and increasing tariffs on goods.

Zelensky called for more air defense systems from his Western allies to assist his forces in the fight. NATO support for Ukraine will be a major focus of the summit starting this week in Madrid, and an early sign of unity came on Tuesday when Turkey agreed to lift its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO..

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted the Nordic countries to abandon their long-held non-alignment and apply to join NATO. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blocked the move, insisting on changing their stance on Kurdish rebel groups that Turkey considers terrorists.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, warned the West that “the more weapons are pumped into Ukraine, the longer the conflict will last and the suffering of the Nazi regime supported by Western capitals will continue.”

Russia has falsely described the war as a “de-Nazification” campaign for Ukraine – a country that has a democratically elected Jewish president who wants closer ties with the West.

In a sinister message to NATO leaders, the Russian space agency Roscosmos published satellite images and the exact coordinates of the conference room where their summit will be held.

She also posted photos and coordinates of the White House, the Pentagon and government headquarters in London, Paris and Berlin – referring to them as “decision-making centers that support Ukrainian nationalists” in a Telegram message. This wording reflects warnings by Russian President Vladimir Putin that he might target such centers in response to what he called Western aggression.

In other developments:

— Russian news agency TASS reported early Wednesday morning that one of the two Britons sentenced to death by separatist forces in eastern Ukraine has lodged a formal appeal. The report said the appeal on behalf of Sean Benner would be heard within two months.

Benner, Aiden Aslin and Moroccan Ibrahim Saadoun were sentenced to death on June 9 and given a month to appeal. The court claimed that they were fighting for Ukraine as mercenaries so they were not entitled to the protection offered to prisoners of war. There was no mention of the appeal of the other two men.

The two warring countries continued an intermittent series of prisoner exchanges. Ukraine has exchanged 15 Russian prisoners of war in exchange for 16 Ukrainian soldiers and one civilian, Ukraine’s Pravda news agency reported on Tuesday.

– Ukraine’s Pravda also reported that in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson, the mayor was arrested on Tuesday and the occupation authorities confiscated his computer hard drive and documents after he refused to cooperate with local officials appointed by Russia. The Russian Tass news agency confirmed his arrest.

– Bulgaria said on Tuesday it had expelled 70 Russian diplomats described as “threats to national security” and ordered them to leave within five days. A statement by the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said that this would reduce the number of employees of the Russian Embassy in Sofia to 23 diplomats and 25 administrative and technical personnel.

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Karmanau reports from Lviv, Ukraine. Associated Press reporters Oleksandr Stashevsky in Kyiv, Ukraine, and Edith M. Lederer from the United Nations.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.

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This version corrects by saying that Zelensky described Russia as a terrorist state and did not describe Putin as a terrorist.

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