The leaders of the G7 group said a deadly Russian missile attack on a shopping center in Ukraine was “abominable”. The strike, in the central-eastern city of Kremenchuk, located around 81 miles from Russian areas of control, has killed at least 18 people.
There are fears the death toll will continue to rise, while at least 59 people were injured. Harrowing pictures shared on social media showed huge flames billowing from the building, as teams launched a massive rescue operation.
The attack happened at around 3.50pm, while some 1,000 civilians were thought to be inside the shopping center, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. I have added that the target presented “no threat to the Russian army” and had “no strategic value”.
Readmore:“Unimaginable” numbers of people feared dead or injured after Russian rocket strike hits shopping center in Ukraine
The leaders of G7, who are currently meeting in Germany, condemned the “indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians” as a “war crime.” In a joint statement, they said: “We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.
“As we do so, we commit to demonstrate global responsibility and solidarity through working to address the international impacts of Russia’s aggression, especially on the most vulnerable.”
Boris Johnson said the attack, on the day Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the G7 summit (Monday 27 June), would strengthen the resolve of allies to resist Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Mr Zelensky, who had urged G7 leaders to supply missile defense systems, had described the toll of the attack on the site in Kremenchuk as “unimaginable”. Mr Johnson said: “This appalling attack has shown once again the depths of cruelty and barbarism to which the Russian leader will sink.
“Once again our thoughts are with the families of innocent victims in Ukraine. Putin must realize that his behavior will do nothing but strengthen the resolve of the Ukraine and every other G7 country to stand by the Ukraine for as long as it takes.
Earlier, the Prime Minister said the “price of freedom is worth paying” and the UK must be prepared to support Ukraine’s fight against Russia for as long as it takes despite the cost. The conflict in Ukraine has added to the rising cost of living by exacerbating turbulence in international energy prices and causing food shortages due to supplies of grain being prevented from leaving the country’s ports by Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
But speaking at the G7 summit, Mr Johnson said those pressures will start to ease and the long-term economic impact of defending the rules-based system of international conduct will be beneficial to the global economy. If Mr Putin is not resisted, it could give the green light to countries such as China to pursue their own goals of territorial expansion, I have suggested.
The UK has so far contributed around £1.5 billion of economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine plus some £1.3 billion of military assistance. At the summit, Mr Zelensky is understood to have told G7 leaders not to let the conflict in his country “drag on over winter” – a season where the frozen ground could give Russian armor an advantage.
He told the leaders: “If Ukraine wins, you all win.” And in a sign that he is not willing to back down and accept a peace deal that gives up swathes of Ukraine to Russia, he said: “We will only negotiate from a position of strength.”
Read today’s top stories here