Russia strikes back at Kiev as West imposes new sanctions on Moscow

In the east, Russian troops take Severodonetsk after the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces

REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS  -   The Ukrainian capital, which has been trying to return to normality for weeks, has been hit by an attack on a residential area

Russian shelling has returned to Kiev. The Ukrainian capital, which has been trying to return to normality for weeks, has been hit by an attack on a residential area. Several people have been rescued from the rubble of buildings, including a seven-year-old girl, while others have been hospitalised, the city's mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, said via Telegram. However, dozens are still missing, with one dead so far.

In addition to the residential building, Anton Herashchenko, advisor to the Ukrainian interior minister, said another missile hit a park. The AFP news agency reported four explosions, noting that one of them caused a fire and a cloud of grey smoke.

The mayor of Kiev has remarked that the attack was intended to "intimidate Ukrainians in the run-up to the NATO summit". The last time Kiev suffered a Russian attack was at the beginning of the month. This latest bombing, as well as coinciding with the imminent NATO summit in Madrid, comes in the middle of a G7 meeting in Germany. 

At that meeting, the leaders of the seven most industrialised nations - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States - have reaffirmed their support for Ukraine. They will also impose a ban on Russian gold imports.

"Together, the G7 will announce a ban on Russian gold imports, a major export that generates tens of billions of dollars for Russia," US President Joe Biden announced on his Twitter account. The American leader has also commented on the latest attack, calling it "barbaric", according to Bloomberg. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had already said over the weekend that he would call for new deliveries of heavy weapons and air defence systems in his video conference. On several occasions, the Ukrainian president has considered the economic sanctions "insufficient" to stop the Russian advance, which is intensifying in the east of the country

This weekend the strategic town of Sievierodonetsk in Lugansk oblast fell into Russian hands after heavy fighting. This is a major victory for Moscow after the seizure of the port city of Mariupol in May.

As Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine's military intelligence chief, said, troops are carrying out "tactical regrouping" by withdrawing their forces from Sievierodonetsk, Reuters reports. "Russia is using the tactic it used in Mariupol: wiping the city off the face of the earth," Budanov explained. Therefore, Ukrainian forces are now looking for "higher ground to continue defence operations" because, given the conditions, "maintaining the defence in the ruins and in the open field is no longer possible".

Russia to send Iskander-M missiles to Belarus

As the war rages in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has assured that Iskander-M tactical missiles will be sent to Belarus in the coming months during a visit by Aleksander Lukashenko to Moscow. These missiles, as the Russian leader pointed out, can be used as ballistic or cruise missiles, with both nuclear and conventional payloads, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

Lukashenko, a loyal ally of Moscow, has taken a pro-Russian stance since the invasion began on 24 February. The Belarusian government allows Russian troops to pass through its territory to storm Ukraine and, if necessary, would accept the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in the country.