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Russia Strikes Kyiv Again              06/26 08:50

   Russia attacked the Ukrainian capital early Sunday, striking at least two 
residential buildings, the mayor of Kyiv said, as elsewhere Russian troops 
fought to consolidate their gains in the country's east.

   KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Russia attacked the Ukrainian capital early Sunday, 
striking at least two residential buildings, the mayor of Kyiv said, as 
elsewhere Russian troops fought to consolidate their gains in the country's 

   Associated Press journalists in Kyiv saw rescue services battling flames and 
rescuing civilians. The general prosecutor's office said preliminary 
information indicated one person was killed and four injured; Kyiv Mayor Vitali 
Klitschko said four people were hospitalized with injuries and a 7-year-old 
girl was pulled alive from the rubble.

   A nearby kindergarten was also damaged, with a crater in its courtyard.

   A member of the Ukrainian parliament, Oleksiy Goncharenko, wrote on the 
Telegram messaging app that "according to prelim data 14 missiles were launched 
against Kyiv region and Kyiv." Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said the 
missiles were Kh-101 air-launched cruise missiles fired from planes over the 
Caspian Sea.

   In the city of Cherkasy, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Kyiv, 
one person was killed and five injured in strikes by two Russian rockets, 
regional governor Ihor Taburets said.

   The early morning Russian airstrikes were the first to successfully target 
the capital since June 5.

   Klitschko told journalists that he believed "it is maybe a symbolic attack" 
ahead of an upcoming NATO summit in Madrid.

   Two more explosions were later heard in Kyiv, but their cause and possible 
casualties were not immediately clear.

   U.S. President Joe Biden, while standing with Olaf Scholz as the German 
chancellor greeted leaders arriving to open a Group of Seven summit Sunday, was 
asked for his reaction to the latest Russian missile strikes on Kyiv, said. 
"It's more of their barbarism," he replied.

   Biden said the United States and other G-7 leading economies intend to 
announce a ban on imports of gold from Russia. They hope that measure will 
further isolate Russia economically over its invasion of Ukraine.

   Senior Biden administration officials said gold is Moscow's second-largest 
export after energy and that banning imports would make it more difficult for 
Russia to participate in global markets.

   Biden's Twitter feed said Russia "rakes in tens of billions of dollars" from 
the sale of its gold.

   Meanwhile, Russian forces have battled to swallow up the last remaining 
Ukrainian stronghold in the eastern Luhansk region, pressing their momentum 
after taking full control Saturday of the city of Sievierodonetsk, including a 
chemical plant where hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians had holed up.

   Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Sunday that Russia was conducting intense 
airstrikes on the adjacent city of Lysychansk, destroying its television tower 
and seriously damaging a road bridge.

   "There's very much destruction -- Lysychansk is almost unrecognizable," he 
wrote on Facebook.

   Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said late Saturday that 
Russian and Moscow-backed separatist forces now control Sievierodonetsk and the 
villages surrounding it. He said the attempt by Ukrainian forces to turn the 
Azot plant into a "stubborn center of resistance" had been thwarted.

   Haidai confirmed Saturday that Sievierodonetsk had fallen to Russian and 
separatist fighters, who he said were now trying to blockade Lysychansk from 
the south.

   Russia's Interfax news agency quoted a spokesman for the separatist forces, 
Andrei Marochko, as saying Russian troops and separatist fighters had entered 
Lysychansk and that fighting was taking place in the heart of the city. There 
was no immediate comment on the claim from the Ukrainian side.

   Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk have been the focal point of a Russian 
offensive aimed at capturing all of the Donbas and destroying the Ukrainian 
military defending it -- the most capable and battle-hardened segment of the 
country's armed forces.

   Capturing Lysychansk would give Russian forces control of every major 
settlement in the province, a significant step toward Russia's aim of capturing 
the entire Donbas. The Russians and separatists control about half of Donetsk, 
the second province in the Donbas.

   On Saturday, Russia also launched dozens of missiles on several areas across 
the country far from the heart of the eastern battles. Some of the missiles 
were fired from Russian long-range Tu-22 bombers deployed from Belarus for the 
first time, Ukraine's air command said.

   The bombardment preceded a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin 
and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, during which Putin announced 
that Russia planned to supply Belarus with the Iskander-M missile system.

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