Russia has launched missile strikes against the Ukraine’s capital Kyiv for the first time in weeks as world leaders meet in Germany for the G7 summit.
Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko wrote on the Telegram messaging app that “according to prelim data, 14 missiles were launched against Kyiv region and Kyiv”.
The general prosecutor’s office said preliminary information indicated one person was killed and four injured; Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said four people were taken to hospital with injuries and a seven-year-old girl was pulled alive from the rubble.
In the city of Cherkasy, about 100 miles south-east of Kyiv, one person was killed and five injured in strikes by two Russian rockets, regional governor Ihor Taburets said.
Two more explosions were later heard in Kyiv, but their cause and possible casualties were not immediately clear.
Before the attack, Kyiv had not faced any Russian air strikes since June 5.
Why has Russia targeted Kyiv again?
Mr Klitschko said he believes it may have been “a symbolic attack” by Russia ahead of this week’s Nato summit in Madrid.
The Nato summit will feature leaders from member states of the military alliance as they meet to discuss security issues surrounding Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Nato is an alliance of 30 member states which guarantee the secutiy of each other through a system of collective defence, which means that an attack on one member state is seen as an attack on them all.
The renewed attacks on Kyiv also come on the day that the G7 summit began in Germany.
G7 leaders including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and American President Joe Biden are meeting at Schloss Elmau in Germany to discuss matters of global importance.
The war in Ukraine is also expected to dominate the G7 summit, though other issues will also be discussed.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address that as a war that Moscow expected to last five days moved into its fifth month, Russia “felt compelled to stage such a missile show”.
He said the war was at a difficult stage, “when we know that the enemy will not succeed, when we understand that we can defend our country, but we don’t know how long it will take, how many more attacks, losses and efforts there will be before we can see that victory is already on our horizon”.
How is the war in Ukraine proceeding?
Russian troops are attempting to consolidate their gains in the east of the country, swallowing up the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in Luhansk region following the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the charred ruins of Sievierodonetsk.
The military said Moscow-backed separatists are now in full control of the chemical plant that was the last Ukrainian holdout in the city.
Russia launched dozens of missiles on several areas across the country far from the heart of the eastern battles on Saturday.
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.
Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said late on 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 centre of resistance” had been thwarted.
Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk province, confirmed on Friday that Ukrainian troops were retreating from Sievierodonetsk after weeks of bombardment and house-to-house fighting.
On Saturday, he said the city had fallen to Russian and separatist fighters, who he said are now trying to blockade Lysychansk from the south. The city lies across the river just to the west of Sievierodonetsk.
Capturing Lysychansk would give Russian forces control of every major settlement in the province, a significant step towards Russia’s aim of capturing the entire Donbas. The Russians and separatists control about half of Donetsk, the second province in the Donbas.