Breaking information about Russia and the struggle in Ukraine

At least 4,731 civilians were killed during the war in Ukraine, according to UNHCR

At least 4,731 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, although the actual numbers are likely to be much higher due to the difficulty of gathering accurate data in wartime.

Matilda Bogner, head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, said Wednesday morning at a presentation on the human rights situation in the country that “civilians continue to bear the brunt of hostilities” in Ukraine.

Bogner said that between the start of the conflict on February 24 and May 15, more than 10,000 people were officially documented as killed or injured, including several hundred children. The data is largely based on field visits and interviews with victims and witnesses of human rights violations.

“I stress that the actual numbers are significantly higher,” she added.

Russia’s attacks on civilian infrastructure, from homes to places of education and worship, did not comply with international humanitarian law, Bognor said. To a much lesser extent, it also appears that Ukrainian forces have failed to comply with the law in the eastern parts of the country, she added.

— Holly Ellyatt

What to expect from this NATO summit and what has already happened?

NATO leaders gather in Madrid to outline their vision for the West’s security agenda.

Nurphoto | Getty Images

The NATO summit taking place in Madrid will be a historic one, its Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, with a deal on the table to take in new members and a proposal for a new “strategic concept” that would be a blueprint for he said “to lead NATO into a more competitive and more dangerous world in the future”.

As the alliance will shift its defenses, Stoltenberg said the summit is a “historic and transformative” summit for the alliance.

NATO has already reached an agreement to allow Sweden and Finland to join the alliance after Turkey dropped its opposition to the offer. It has also already announced that it will massively increase its rapid reaction force from currently around 40,000 soldiers to 300,000.

Speaking to the press Wednesday after arriving at the summit, CNBC’s Hadley Gamble asked Stoltenberg about the schedule and structure of these additional troops.

“I expect next year they will be available and ready, that’s the plan. These forces will be paid for and organized by the various allied NATO countries,” he noted, and would then be preassigned to specific NATO areas, most in the eastern portion of the alliance, where they would train and gain experience on that terrain.

Pre-positioned heavy equipment and pre-allocated forces in certain countries would allow NATO to strengthen its deterrence and defenses, Stoltenberg said.

— Holly Ellyatt

“Russian terror” responsible for the deaths of many innocent Ukrainian civilians, says Zelenskyy

Rescuers at the site of the shopping center hit by a Russian missile attack on June 27, 2022 in Kremenchuk, Ukraine. Ukraine’s Interior Minister said yesterday that there were no survivors under the rubble because of the fire that spread through the building after the rocket attack.

Anna Voitenko | Reuters

Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskyy said Russia was responsible for “state terrorism” in Ukraine as over 2,800 Russian missiles have hit its cities so far during the war.

In his recent speech, Zelenskyy said he attended a special session of the UN Security Council called Tuesday at Ukraine’s request to “use all international levers to bring Russia to justice for state terrorism.” “

“For everything that the Russian army did against Ukrainians in Kremenchuk, in Ochakiv, in Lysyhansk, in Kharkiv, in Dnipro, in many, many other cities of Ukraine. As of tonight, the total number of Russian missiles that have hit our cities is already 2,811. And there’s a lot more aerial bombs, a lot of artillery shells,” he said.

Noting that the UN Security Council stood in silence today to commemorate all Ukrainians killed so far by the Russian army during the conflict, the President noted that “the members of the Russian delegation looked at everyone present in the Security Council and also decided to stand up… but everyone knows that it is Russian terror, it is the Russian state that is killing innocent people in this war against the Ukrainian people.”

Charred goods inside a grocery store at the destroyed Amstor shopping center in Kremenchuk June 28, 2022, a day after it was hit by a Russian missile attack, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images

Russia faces renewed war crimes charges after a Russian missile hit a shopping mall in Kremenchuk in central Ukraine. The strike killed at least 20 civilians shopping in the building and injured at least 59 people, with others still missing. Ukraine’s Interior Minister said yesterday that there were no survivors under the rubble because of the fire that spread through the building after the rocket attack.

Russia has repeatedly denied attacking civilians or civilian infrastructure, although these claims have been refuted on numerous occasions. It has also spread untruths and disinformation about such attacks; On Tuesday, Russia said it was targeting an arms depot donated by the US and Europe near the mall, a claim Ukraine has dismissed.

— Holly Ellyatt

“We are in a hybrid war,” says the German Foreign Minister

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has described the situation the country is facing as a “hybrid war”, with the conflict in Ukraine having a profound impact on the energy landscape in Europe and Germany having to make plans in case its gas supplies – which are via Nord Stream 1 delivered from Russia to Germany – will be clipped from Moscow.

“The question we are now faced with in Germany is that if there is no gas coming through Nord Stream 1 … we have to decide which institution is allowed to be taken offline,” Baerbock told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Tuesday.

“We are in a time of war, people are dying in Ukraine, but we are in a hybrid war where war is also being waged [fought] through energy,” said Baerbock.

Germany is particularly dependent on Russian gas supplies via its Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Before the war, there were plans to double that supply with a second pipeline, Nord Stream 2, despite concerns about the pipeline from the United States, Ukraine and other countries in Eastern Europe, notably Poland.

The huge energy infrastructure project, while fully built and operational, has been put on hold — perhaps forever — because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

— Holly Ellyatt

NATO strikes deal with Turkey to allow Sweden and Finland to join

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson give a press conference after their meeting June 13, 2022 in Harpsund, Sweden.

Henrik Montgomery | News Agency Tt | Via Reuters

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the world’s most powerful military alliance had reached an agreement to admit Sweden and Finland after addressing Turkey’s concerns.

The push to add Sweden and Finland to the world’s most powerful military alliance comes as Russia’s attack on Ukraine increases fears from other countries in the region. Moscow, long wary of NATO expansion, has opposed plans by the two nations to join the alliance.

Both Finland and Sweden already meet many of the requirements to become members of NATO. The prerequisites include a functioning democratic political system, the willingness to be economically transparent and the ability to make military contributions to NATO missions.

However, all 30 NATO members must agree to a country’s application to join the alliance.

– Amanda Macias

Satellite image shows demolition of a shopping center in Ukraine

A satellite image acquired by Planet Labs Inc. on June 28 shows the destruction of the shopping mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.

Planet Labs Inc.

A satellite image from Planet Labs shows the demolition of a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging platform that more than 1,000 people were inside at the time of the Russian missile attack, according to a report by NBC News.

“This is not a rocket attack, but a calculated Russian attack – exactly on this shopping center,” Zelenskyy said in his evening address.

Rescuers work at a site of a shopping mall hit by a Russian missile attack as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues June 28, 2022 in Kremenchuk, Poltava region, Ukraine.

Anna Voitenko | Reuters

G-7 leaders condemned the Russian missile strike and vowed to hold “Russian President Putin and those responsible” accountable.

The Kremlin has previously denied attacking civilians.

– Amanda Macias

Europe needs “contingency plans” in case Russia cuts off gas supplies altogether

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi at the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau on June 26, 2022 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Sean Gallup | News from Getty Images | Getty Images

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the EU’s gas supplies would increase as the bloc considered other suppliers besides Russia, but added that the region must have contingency plans in place should Russia cut supplies.

“But there will have to be contingency plans, especially if Russia decides to stop supplies altogether [gas] Stocks are going up nicely. We have reached good inventory levels… and if we complete inventories we can manage this transition by the time we will be totally independent of Russian gas,” he told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick at a news conference.

Draghi said Europe has taken measures to deal with the economic fallout from the conflict, including diversifying its suppliers and investing in renewable forms of energy.

“We went everywhere [for other suppliers]and we have replaced a large part of Russian gas,” he said, noting that last year 40% of the EU’s gas supplies came from Russia, compared to just 25% now.

A recession in Europe due to the war in Ukraine is not an immediate forecast, Draghi also noted, saying: “The economy in the euro area is slowing down for the time being, but we don’t see a recession now.” The Italian The economy is actually doing better than we did before expected a few months ago.”

— Holly Ellyatt

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