Russia-Ukraine war: Russian strike hits residential building in Mykolaiv; Nato to ratify Sweden and Finland ‘as quickly as possible’ – live | Ukraine

Russian strike hits residential building in Mykolaiv

More on the attack on Mykolaivfrom Reuters:

At least three people were killed and five wounded by a Russian missile strike on a residential building in Ukraine’s southern city of Mykolaiv on Wednesday, said local authorities who have launched a rescue effort for survivors.

Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said eight missiles had hit the city, and urged residents to evacuate. He said the building appeared to have been hit by a Russian X-55 cruise missile.

Photographs from the scene showed smoke billowing from a four-storey building with its upper floor partly destroyed.

A quick snap from Reuters here that Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchezthe host of this week’s Nato summit, has told Cadena Ser radio that Russia will be identified as Nato’s “main threat” in its new strategic concept, as opposed to “a strategic partner” as previously designated.

In the UK, Labour’s Lisa Nandy has criticised the UK government for running down the size of Britain’s armed forces, and for having too much of a focus on China. She told viewers of Sky News:

Just a year ago they published their integrated review of foreign and defence policy that was meant to set the country’s strategic security priorities for the next ten years. And in there was very little reference to Russia, even though we were already seeing Russian aggression on the increase and a growing threat in our own backyard.

We said to the government at the time it is a mistake to reduce the size of the army. They’ve cut 10,000 troops out of our armed forces. They’ve reduced our army to its smallest size in 300 years. And in the focus on China, they forgot about the problems in our own neighbourhood.

The UK defence secretary Ben Wallace has appeared on LBC radio in the UK, where he has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “small man syndrome”. He is quoted as saying:

I certainly think Putin’s view of himself and the world is a small man syndrome, macho view. You rarely hear the phrase small woman syndrome. You always hear small man syndrome and he’s got it in spades.

He also referred to Maria Zakharova’s regular appearances as a “comedy turn”. Zakharova is press secretary of Russia’s foreign ministry.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace tells @NickFerrariLBC
that Vladimir Putin has “small man syndrome” although he concedes that while Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman does a weekly “comedy turn” on behalf of her boss, “she’s definitely a woman”

— Kitty Donaldson (@kitty_donaldson) June 29, 2022

Maksym Kozytskyigovernor of Lviv, has posted his daily update. He said that there were no air raids in his region overnight, and that 102 internally-displaced people arrived in Lviv in the last 24 hours on two evacuation trains.

One person who has not been impressed with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s diplomatic efforts is Russian first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky. This morning Russia’s foreign ministry has chosen to highlight some of Polyansky’s words at the UN, posting to their social media channels:

The Security Council should not turn into a platform where President Zelenskiy, though remotely, can angle for more Nato weapons. This erodes the authority of the Council as a body responsible for collective decision-making in the interests of maintenance of international peace and security. The Ukrainian side, supported by our Western colleagues, seeks to undermine this authority and use UNSC members as audience at its performances.

He also claimed that social media, far from exposing the actions of pro-Russian forces in Ukraineinstead was exposing the truth about Ukrainians, stating:

Ukrainians and their Western sponsors realised quickly that in a digital era, the developments on the ground do not matter. But at some point everything went off the rails. On social media, there appeared more evidence and more reasons to blame Ukrainian soldiers and neo-Nazis for committing atrocities and war crimes.

In an interview with the NBC network in the US, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has compared the scenes he saw at Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv to a war movie, and said that witnessing the aftermath of the atrocities that Ukraine alleges took place there has changed the way he views people. He said:

With what you saw in Bucha, there was a terrifying feeling and understanding that it looked like something from a movie, a violent war movie about the effects of war. But in that moment, you realise that this is no movie, it’s not from a book, it’s not a biopic, it’s nothing like that. It has nothing in common, it’s reality. And reality is more terrifying than the film I told you about.

There is less blood than in a Tarantino movie, and less shooting than with Spielberg. It was just so quiet, everything was destroyed, dead people, destroyed army equipment. There was this sense of death.

And you understand that reality is scarier than any movie and the thing that changed me or surprised me was before I didn’t think that people were capable of this, that people are capable of such atrocities.

When they found people in the bottom of wells, hands bound, raped, and murdered – they’d done everything to them. I just didn’t know that this could be done by people who, 30 years previously, we had lived together in the Soviet Union, in one country. I just never had thought that humanity could be capable of this, and this changes how you look at people.

Moscow has repeatedly denied that its forces target civilians, and has termed reports of war crimes committed by Russian soldiers occupying Ukraine “provocations”.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has posted to his Telegram channel a clip form an interview with US television network NBC. He accompanies the clip with these words:

The war will end with the victory of Ukraine. No matter how difficult it is, we must oust the occupiers from our land.

Zelenskiy’s social media channel states that during the interview, part of the Festival of Ideas of the Aspen Institute, he spoke about the struggle for independence, the importance of supporting the civilised world, the current situation on the battlefield and his decision-making process. Opening the interview, Zelenskiy said:

For me, it was always very important for Ukraine not to become a ‘buffer zone.’ The Ukrainian people chose the European way, the relevant values. These values correspond in Europe, the United States, and Ukraine. And we want to be a part of these values.

Yet, once upon a time there was the Soviet Union, we were part of this state. We were a part of this Soviet Union. Our parents were born there and I was born there, in those times.

However, today, we want to be independent.

Even before the Soviet Union, Ukrainians wanted to have their own land, their own traditions, and I believe this is normal if one respects Ukraine’s choice of sovereignty. At last, we have independence, and you see how hard we are fighting for it and how we are fighting for these values.

Nato’s Stoltenberg: ‘allies ready to make ratification process as quick as possible’ for Sweden and Finland

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has said he expected a swift ratification of Sweden and Finland’s membership of the military alliance.

“We will make a decision at the summit to invite Sweden and Finland to become members, that’s unprecedented quick,” he told reporters on the second day of the Nato summit in Madrid. Both countries applied for membership of the alliance in mid-May.

Reuters reports he said: “After invitation, we need a ratification process in 30 parliaments. That always takes some time but I expect also that to go rather quickly because allies are ready to try to make that ratification process happen as quickly as possible.”

The UK’s defence secretary Ben Wallace has been interviewed from Madrid about Nato defence spending, and the UK’s commitment to defence spending. He said that Russia’s actions in Ukraine had changed the mid-term focus. He told viewers of Sky News:

As defence secretary my most important target is remaining above 2%, if not greater, of GDP, which is the main Nato benchmark. And you know, I think that’s really important that we continue to commit to that, if not greater.

The question is really the next spending period, the middle of the decade. And we were prepared to take certain vulnerabilities on board in the middle of the decade, as we got rid of some equipment and re-equipped new. I think the invasion of Russia into Ukraine has changed that. And that’s why I think the discussion is so important for the sort of middle-of-the-decade funding.

Fighting continues in all settlements of the Lysychansk community, according to Serhai HaidaiUkraine’s governor of Luhansk. His daily briefing on Telegram states that while Ukrainian forces are out-numbered they continue to put up a defence, saying:

Fighting continues in all settlements of the Lysychansk community. Orcs [slang for pro-Russian forces] try to break through our defences, but they fail, then take the most favourite route – total destruction. The shelling continues constantly, the destruction is catastrophic.

Only in Lysychansk did the Russians throw two battalion-tactical groups of heavy equipment. Orcs have a quantitative advantage in both personnel and equipment, but in the skill of fighting – our defenders will win.

The Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway is not surrounded.

The claims have not been independently verified.

Roman Starovoytgovernor of Kursk in Russiahas posted pictures this morning of what he claims is a drone shot down over Russia overnight. He posted to Telegram:

I am publishing photos of the drone we shot down last night. The Ukrainian “Swift” Tu-141, produced back in Soviet times, entered our airspace. The investigative committee is working at the site of the discovery of the wreckage.

Russian strike hits residential building in Mykolaiv

More on the attack on Mykolaivfrom Reuters:

At least three people were killed and five wounded by a Russian missile strike on a residential building in Ukraine’s southern city of Mykolaiv on Wednesday, said local authorities who have launched a rescue effort for survivors.

Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said eight missiles had hit the city, and urged residents to evacuate. He said the building appeared to have been hit by a Russian X-55 cruise missile.

Photographs from the scene showed smoke billowing from a four-storey building with its upper floor partly destroyed.

Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass is reporting on the comments of Russia’s representative to the UN security council:

Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine will continue until Ukraine stops shelling Donbas and until no threat comes from its territory, Russian first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky has said.

“We started a special military operation in order to put an end to bombardments of Donbas by Ukraine, and also to make sure that this country (that western states helped to turn into an anti-Russia) and its nationalist leadership stop posing a threat to both Russia and people living in Ukraine’s southern and south-eastern areas. The special operation will continue until these goals are achieved,” he told the UN security council session on Tuesday.

Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyansky
Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyansky Photograph: AP

“By supplying your weapons, you only prolong the agony of the criminal Kiev regime that is ready to sacrifice its own population. The sooner you realize this, the sooner Ukrainian leadership comes to a negotiations table with a realistic position rather than pompous slogans and phantom pains,” the Russian diplomat added.

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