- Turkey lifts its veto over Finland and Sweden’s bid to join NATO, after the three nations agreed to protect each other’s security.
- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells the United Nations Security Council that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is a “terrorist” and calls for Russia to be expelled from the UN.
- Zelenskyy also urges the UN to do everything to stop the “killing spree” before Russia’s “terrorist activity” spreads to other European countries and Asia.
- Russia’s deputy UN ambassador tells the UNSC there was no Russian attack on the shopping center in Ukraine’s central city of Kremenchuk.
- He claims that Moscow’s precision weapons struck hangars in the Kremenchuk road machinery plant, creating a fire that spread to the mall.
Here are the latest updates:
Kremenchuk strike a ‘crime against humanity’: Prosecutor general
The missile attack on the Kremenchuk shopping center is one of Russia’s “crimes against humanity,” Ukraine’s prosecutor general has said.
Iryna Venediktova emphasized the need for all Ukrainians to remain alert and expect a similar strike “every minute.”
Bodies burned beyond recognition in Kremenchuk: Minister
As Russian missiles struck the Kremenchuk shopping center, many people quickly fled the building and took shelter across the street, Ukraine’s interior minister has said.
Denis Monastyrsky also said several of the bodies of people who did not make it out in time were burned beyond recognition. In addition to the 18 killed and 59 wounded, 21 people are still missing.
Local resident Kateryna Romashyna told The Associated Press she had just arrived at the mall when an explosion knocked her down. When another blast came about ten minutes later, she realized she needed to get away.
“I ran away from the epicenter with all of my strength,” she said. Fighting back tears, she added: “You have to be a real monster” to strike a shopping mall.
Australia considering reopening Ukraine embassy
Australia is considering reopening its embassy in Kyiv, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said, as it looks to join several of its allies who have resumed operations after removing its diplomats over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We would like to have a presence on the ground there to assist and be able to provide that on-ground presence,” Albanese told reporters in Madrid ahead of the NATO summit.
“Australia is considering that… I’ll have more to say on that in the coming days and weeks.”
Albanese also condemned Russia’s strike on the Kremenchuk shopping center saying it was a “civilian target” and “reinforces the atrocities being committed in this illegal war of aggression by Russia.”
Australia condemns Russia’s latest atrocity in its brutal and illegal war on Ukraine. We will work with our NATO partners to support the people of Ukraine in their courageous fight. pic.twitter.com/aJAzzQtSpe
– Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) June 28, 2022
Turkey lifts veto over Finland, Sweden NATO bid
Turkey has lifted its veto over Finland and Sweden’s bid to join the Western alliance after the three nations agreed to protect each other’s security, ending a weeks-long drama that tested allied unity against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the agreement addressed “Turkey’s concerns including around arms exports and the fight against terrorism.”
“Finland and Sweden commit to fully support Turkey [Turkey] against threats to its national security. This includes further amending their domestic legislation, cracking down on PKK activities and entering into an agreement with Turkey on extradition, ”he said after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Saul Niinisto.
The breakthrough came after four hours of talks just before a NATO summit began in Madrid, averting an embarrassing impasse at the gathering of 30 leaders that aims to show resolve against Russia. It means Helsinki and Stockholm can proceed with their application to join the nuclear-armed alliance.
UK defense spending projected to reach 2.3% of GDP this year
The United Kingdom’s defense spending is projected to reach 2.3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) this year due to increased military support for Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of that country, the government has said in a statement.
NATO has estimated the UK will spend 2.12 percent of GDP in 2022, down from an estimated 2.26 percent in 2021 but still above the 2 percent threshold the Atlantic alliance asks its members to meet.
Zelenskyy shares video footage of Kremenchuk hit
Zelenskyy has shared security camera footage of the moment the Kremenchuk shopping mall was hit by a Russian missile raid on Monday and said the attack was done deliberately.
“The Russian missile hit this very object, purposefully. Obviously, that was the order. It is obvious that Russian assassins received such coordinates for this missile, ”Zelenskyy said in an evening video address on Tuesday.
Moscow says it had struck a nearby arms depot and falsely claimed that the mall was empty. Zelenskyy’s nighttime address decried what he said were Russia’s lies.
“And I wish to say separately about the responsibility of those Russian propagandists who lie about this terror, who are trying to justify the actions of the Russian army. Each of you will also be punished. We have all the evidence of what the Russian troops are doing against our people, ”he said.
Western countries turning Ukraine into ‘anti-Russia’: Moscow’s UN envoy
Ukraine is being turned into “anti-Russia” at the behest of some Western countries, Russia’s envoy to the UN has told the UN Security Council.
Dmitry Polyansky said that by supplying weapons to Ukraine, Western nations were prolonging the time when Ukraine’s leaders “will sit down at the negotiating table with a realistic position rather than with slogans”.
“We started a special military operation in order to stop the shelling of Donbas by Ukraine and so that the territory of this country, which has been turned into anti-Russia at the behest of a number of Western countries, as well as its nationalist leadership , ceases to pose a threat to Russia or the inhabitants of the south and southeast of Ukraine, ”he said.
“And until those goals are achieved, our operation will continue.”
No Russian strike on shopping center: Moscow’s UN envoy
Russia’s deputy UN ambassador has told the UN Security Council that there was no Russian strike at the shopping center in Ukraine’s central city of Kremenchuk, which officials say killed at least 18 people and wounded 59 others.
Dmitry Polyansky said Russian precision weapons struck hangars in the Kremenchuk road machinery plant with weapons and ammunition from the United States and Europe destined for Ukrainian troops in eastern Donbas. The shopping center was some distance away but the detonation of ammunition “created a fire which then spread to the shopping center,” he said.
Ukraine called the council meeting after Russia’s recent surge in attacks, including Monday’s air attack on the crowded shopping mall.
Zelenskyy told the council that “dozens are missing” and body fragments have been found, including hands and feet, adding that unfortunately there may be more victims.
Zelenskyy urges Russia’s expulsion from the UN
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the United Nations to establish an international tribunal to investigate “the actions of Russian occupiers on Ukrainian soil” and to hold the country accountable.
“We need to act urgently to do everything to make Russia stop the killing spree,” Zelenskyy said in a virtual address to the UN Security Council. He warned that otherwise, Russia’s “terrorist activity” would spread to other European countries and Asia, singling out the Baltic states, Poland, Moldova and Kazakhstan.
“Putin has become a terrorist,” he said. “Daily terrorist acts, without weekends. Every day they are working as terrorists. ”
Zelenskyy also urged Russia’s expulsion from the 193-member United Nations, citing Article 6 of the UN Charter which states that a member “which has persistently violated the principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. ”
You can read all the updates from June 28 here.