Latest in Ukraine: Deadly Russian Missile Attack Hits Kyiv

 Latest Developments:    

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanks United States for new $300 million aid package that includes air defense systems and ammunition. 
U.S. announces temporary suspension of tariffs on Ukrainian steel has been extended for one year. 
U.N. expresses concerns about repeated attacks on health facilities in Ukraine. 

Ukrainian officials said Thursday a Russian missile attack targeted Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, killing at least three people and injuring 10 others. 

The Ukrainian military said it intercepted all 10 short-range missiles fire by Russia. 

Kyiv officials said debris from the missiles damaged apartment buildings, a medical clinic and a water pipeline. 

Russia carried out frequent aerial attacks on Kyiv in May as Ukraine prepared for an expected counteroffensive to try to take back territory Russian forces have seized since launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine early last year. 

The governor of western Russia’s Belgorod region said Thursday overnight shelling wounded multiple people in the town of Shebekino. 

Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram the attack damaged several buildings as well.  He blamed Ukrainian forces. 

NATO support 

In Oslo, NATO foreign ministers gathered Thursday to discuss increasing their support for Ukraine as well as Ukraine’s aspirations to join the military alliance. 

“All allies agree that the most urgent and important task now is that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign and independent nation,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters. “President Putin must not win this war.” 

Asked about attacks on Russian soil attributed to Ukraine, Stoltenberg said Ukraine was attacked by Russia and has the right to defend itself. He said Russian President Vladimir Putin can stop the war at any time, and that those responsible for war crimes in Ukraine must be held accountable. 

Thursday’s meeting in Oslo comes ahead of a summit of NATO leaders next month in Lithuania where Stoltenberg said he expects allies will agree on a long-term commitment to support Ukraine. He said Ukraine needs to have the capabilities and strength to defend itself and deter any future attempts by Russia to repeat its invasion. 

Stoltenberg had expressed hope that NATO allies would approve Sweden’s bid to join the alliance before the July summit.  All existing members must give their approval, and to date only Hungary and Turkey have not. 

The NATO chief said Thursday he will soon travel to Ankara to continue discussing the situation with leaders there. Turkey has accused Sweden of not doing enough to crack down on groups that Turkey considers terrorists. Stoltenberg noted that a new anti-terrorism law went into effect Thursday in Sweden and reiterated that he is confident Sweden will become a full NATO member.     

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters. 

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Russia Evacuates Children After Shelling Near Ukraine Border

Russia said it was evacuating hundreds of children from villages because of intensifying shelling in the border region of Belgorod, where the situation was deemed alarming by the Kremlin.

More than a year into its invasion of Ukraine, Russia is now seeing stepped-up attacks on its soil, including an unprecedented incursion last week in the southern region of Belgorod and a drone attack on Moscow on Tuesday.

Authorities began evacuating children from the border districts of Shebekino and Graivoron, regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram.

Gladkov said the first 300 evacuated children will be taken to Voronezh, a city about 250 kilometers further into Russia. And more than 1,000 more children will be moved to other provinces over the coming days, he added.

A correspondent for state-run agency RIA Novosti near Voronezh said buses had arrived with around 150 people on board.

Gladkov said the situation was growing worse in the village of Shebekino, where he reported more shelling during the day that injured four people but didn’t cause any deaths.

On Tuesday, one person was killed and two others were wounded in a strike on a center for displaced people in the region. Several oil depots have also been hit in recent weeks.

The attacks have come as Kyiv says it is preparing for a major offensive against Moscow’s forces.

“The situation is quite alarming,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said about shelling in the region.

“We have not heard a single word of condemnation from the West so far,” Peskov said.

The Kremlin has accused Ukraine — and its Western backers — of being behind the increasing number of reported attacks.

On Tuesday, the foreign ministry said the West was “pushing the Ukrainian leadership towards increasingly reckless acts” after a drone attack on residential areas in Moscow.

The Russian defense ministry said that eight drones were used in the attack, adding that five of them were downed and three disabled.

At least three buildings were lightly damaged, including two high-rise residential buildings in Moscow’s affluent southwest.

Ukraine, which has seen almost nightly attacks on its capital, denied any “direct involvement.”

The United States said it did not support any attack inside Russia, instead providing Kyiv with equipment and training to reclaim its territory.

AFP journalists went to the regional capital city, which is also called Belgorod, over the weekend.

Residents confessed to a certain amount of worry, but a sense of fatalism prevailed.

“What can we do? We just shout ‘Oh! and ‘Ah!’ What will that change?” said retired teacher, 84-year-old Rimma Malieva.

Most people AFP spoke to said they trusted the authorities to fix the weaknesses laid bare by the latest raid.

Evgeny Sheikin, a 41-year-old builder, still said “it should not have happened.”

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Georgia Treads a Cautious Line Between EU Dreams, Russia

Amid fresh strikes on Kyiv and as Ukraine readies its counteroffensive against Russia, another former Soviet republic is watching closely. In 2008, Georgia waged a brief war against Moscow and pro-Russian separatists, losing its breakaway region of South Ossetia, and another, Abkhazia. Now, as Georgia’s population looks firmly westward, some accuse its government of leaning towards Moscow — risking Georgian hopes to join the European Union. Lisa Bryant reports from the capital Tbilisi and near the border of South Ossetia.

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Moldova Intensifies Push to Join EU

Moldova on Thursday hosts a symbolic summit of EU leaders where Moldovan leaders hope to push their country’s longstanding bid for integration into the European Union. That effort has fervent supporters and opponents, both internal and external. Marcus Harton narrates this report from Ricardo Marquina in Chisinau, Moldova.

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«Ситуація буде напруженою» – голова «Укренерго» про ймовірні вимкнення світла влітку

«Якщо її не буде вистачати, ми будемо імпортувати електроенергію з Європи. Ми можемо також включати додаткові генеруючі потужності, наприклад, ті, які використовують природний газ»

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ISW: Путін намагався применшити значення атаки дронів на Москву

«Путін послідовно відповідає на справжні та ймовірні дії України, віддаючи накази про масштабні ракетні й дронові удари, ймовірно, через нездатність російських військ досягти будь-яких вирішальних ефектів на полі бою»

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Ankara Could Get F16s but US-Turkey Ties Remain Fraught

Aiming to secure support for Sweden’s bid to join NATO, U.S. President Joe Biden signaled a transactional approach in his engagement with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The newly reelected Turkish leader has been one of the most consequential yet complicated members of the transatlantic military alliance.   

Biden spoke with Erdogan on Monday to congratulate him on winning his third presidential term and said the two had discussed the issue of Sweden’s NATO accession and Turkey’s request to overhaul and expand its fleet of American-made F-16 fighter jets.   

“He still wants to work on something on the F-16s. I told him we wanted a deal with Sweden, so let’s get that done. And so, we’ll be back in touch with one another,” Biden said, adding that they will talk more about it “next week.” 

This is the first time Biden has linked the two issues together. Neither the White House nor the Turkish government mentioned the potential F-16 sale in their readout of the call. 

U.S. administration officials have repeatedly rejected suggestions of a quid pro quo between the transatlantic military alliance’s expansion and a weapons sale. 

“That’s not a condition,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated during her press briefing Tuesday. “President Biden has long been clear that he supports selling F-16s.” 

On Tuesday, during a joint news conference with Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Lulea, Sweden, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that both issues “should go forward as quickly as possible.” 

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in May 2022. The bids, which must be approved by all NATO members, were held up by objections from Turkey and Hungary though Finland’s bid was finally approved in April. 


Ankara has long sought to purchase 40 F-16 fighter jets made by U.S. company Lockheed Martin and nearly 80 modernization kits for its air force’s existing warplanes — a $20 billion transaction. 

The F-16 jets make up the bulk of Turkey’s combat aircraft after the Trump administration in 2019 expelled Ankara from the fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet program over its decision to acquire Russian-made S-400 air defense systems. 

The U.S. Congress, which has authority to block major weapons sales, objects to F-16 sales for reasons beyond NATO enlargement. It wants Ankara to ease tensions with Greece, refrain from invading northern Syria and enforce sanctions against Russia for its war on Ukraine. 

In April, about two weeks after Turkey ratified its support for Finland joining NATO, Washington approved a $259 million sale of avionics software upgrades for Ankara’s current fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft.  But Sweden’s bid is still held up because Ankara believes that Stockholm is harboring “terrorists” — militants from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. 

Swedish lawmakers have passed legislation tightening the country’s anti-terrorism laws, a move expected to help persuade Turkey. U.S. and Swedish officials have expressed hope that Sweden’s membership will be confirmed by the time NATO leaders meet in Vilnius, Lithuania, in mid-July. 

While Erdogan is likely to leverage his support for Sweden, he is also a pragmatist, said Asli Aydintaşbaş, a Turkish journalist and visiting fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings. 

“What we are going to see is a bit of a last-minute drama heading up to the Vilnius summit,” Aydıntaşbaş told VOA. “At the end, it’s possible that this will be resolved on the night of the summit.”  

Fraught relations 

F-16s aside, U.S.-Turkish ties will remain fraught, said James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, who now chairs the Middle East program at the Wilson Center. 

“It’s a complicated, transactional relationship,” Jeffrey told VOA. “It’s never 100% on our side. We’re hoping it won’t be more than 50% away from us, but a lot depends on the personal relationship between Biden and Erdogan. It’s been frosty; the call is a good first step.” 

Solid ties with Ankara will be “dramatically strategic in terms of containing Russia,” as well as containing Iran and terrorist movements in the region — all key goals for Washington, Jeffrey added. 

However, Erdogan’s friendly ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin while NATO helps Ukraine to fend off a Russian invasion have made Western officials uneasy. 

“We are not bound by the West’s sanctions,” Erdogan said in a CNN interview earlier this month. “We are a strong state, and we have a positive relationship with Russia.” 

Ankara has calibrated its response to the war in Ukraine consistent with its own strategic interests, condemning the invasion and restricting Russian warships and military flights across its territory while refusing to join Western sanctions on Russia and expanding its trade ties with Moscow. 

At the same time Erdogan has maintained good ties with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. His government has provided aid and drones to Ukraine and was instrumental in the U.N.-backed deal allowing Ukrainian grain ships access to global markets via the Black Sea.  


The Turkish decision to acquire S-400 air defense systems remains the thorniest issue for the U.S., said Howard Eissenstat, a nonresident scholar at the Middle East Institute. 

“That one’s going to be really difficult to solve,” he told VOA. 

Washington insists it won’t allow Ankara back into its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program until Ankara abandons the Russian-made weapons. Earlier this month, Turkish media reported that Ankara rejected the Biden administration’s request for Turkey to send its S-400 air defense systems to Ukraine. 

Next week, Biden will host British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. The leaders are expected to discuss the issue of NATO enlargement, including how to get Ankara on board. 

“Those are good interlocutors for the president,” Jeffrey said. “Those are people who understand the geostrategic situation in Europe.” 

Anita Powell contributed to this report. 

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European Leaders Head to Moldova for Symbolic Summit on Ukraine’s Doorstep

More than 40 European leaders plan to meet in Moldova on Thursday in a show of support for the former Soviet republic and neighboring Ukraine as Kyiv prepares to launch a counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces. 

The gathering of the EU’s 27 member states and 20 other European countries at a castle deep in Moldovan wine country will touch on a range of strategic issues and launch a new EU partnership mission in the country. But the focus will be on a symbolic show of unity on Ukraine’s doorstep. 

“If you sit in Moscow and see 47 countries in your immediate or close neighborhood meeting together, that’s an important message,” an EU official told reporters ahead of the summit, which takes place 40 km (25 miles) southeast of the capital Chisinau. 

A country of 2.5 million lodged between Ukraine and NATO member Romania, Moldova has taken in more Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other country just as food and energy prices soared as a result of the conflict. 

The government has accused Moscow of trying to destabilize the mainly Romanian-speaking country using its influence over the separatist movement in mainly Russian-speaking Transnistria. 

SEE ALSO: A related video by Ricardo Marquina

The summit, the second meeting of the European Political Community, the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, will discuss issues from cyber-security to migration and energy security. It will also provide an opportunity to discuss tensions in the continent ranging from Azerbaijan and Armenia to recent clashes in northern Kosovo. 

It comes as Kyiv is preparing for a counteroffensive using recently acquired Western weapons to try to drive Russian occupiers from territory seized in what Moscow calls a special military operation to protect Russian speakers. 

EU ambitions 

Moldova, like Ukraine, applied to join the European Union last year shortly after the Russian invasion, and Chisinau is planning to use the summit to showcase reforms and convince leaders to open accession talks as soon as possible. 

“For us, the presence of 50 leaders in Moldova is a milestone … it’s the biggest foreign policy event Moldova has ever hosted,” said Olga Rosca, President Maia Sandu’s foreign policy adviser. 

“It’s our way of anchoring our future in Europe and in the EU. It’s our way of accelerating the EU accession process.” 

Moldova’s aim, she added, is for a decision to be taken at the European Council Summit in December so that accession talks can begin at the start of 2024. 

Some fear differing expectations among participating countries and the sheer size of the summit, for which France has provided logistical and security support, will be an obstacle to delivering concrete policy wins. 

The political diversity and traditional rivalries between some of participants, from Armenia and Azerbaijan to Greece and Turkey, may also complicate matters. 

“With events in Ukraine it’s useful, as is the discussion on energy supplies and migration. So I think for now it’s suck it and see,” one senior European diplomat said. 

At its inaugural summit in Prague last year, an EU-led effort to mediate between Azerbaijan and Armenia did make some progress. On Thursday, their leaders will hold talks with the EU, Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.  

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«Один із прийомів інформаційної війни»: слідом за Залужним і Сирським у РФ оголосили у розшук Наєва

Командування Обʼєднаних сил ЗСУ: «В той час поки російська пропаганда витрачає шалені гроші на дитячі погрози та залякування, ми переконані, що «ніщо не зупинить ідею, час якої настав»

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Кулеба назвав три кроки, щоб «зробити Вільнюський саміт успішним»

Міністр закордонних справ України Дмитро Кулеба звернувся до очільників зовнішньополітичних відомств країн НАТО перед їхньою неформальною зустріччю в Осло. Він означив три кроки, що, на його думку, принесуть успіх майбутнього саміту Альянсу у Вільнюсі.

«Я звернувся до всіх 31 міністра закордонних справ країн НАТО перед їхньою неформальною зустріччю в Осло. Три кроки, щоб зробити Вільнюський саміт успішним: 1) Зміцнення інституційних зв’язків і допомоги між Україною і НАТО; 2) Зробити крок до членства України; 3) Забезпечити гарантії безпеки на шляху України в НАТО», – написав Кулеба у твітері.

У липні у Вільнюсі відбудеться саміт НАТО. Україна очікує отримати більш чітку позицію союзників щодо майбутнього членства в Альянсі.

Генеральний секретар НАТО Єнс Столтенберґ заявив, що приєднання України до НАТО не відбудеться, поки триває війна.

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