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(Bloomberg) -- A Russian missile strike on a mall in central Ukraine left at least 18 people dead and dozens injured, authorities said. Group of Seven leaders branded the attack a war crime.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy joined the G-7 summit taking place in the Bavarian Alps by video link from Kyiv and said he wants the war to be over by the end of the year, according to officials familiar with his remarks. NATO announced a plan to boost the size of its high-readiness force to 300,000 as it implements a “fundamental shift” in its deterrence plans after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has warned the Chinese government to learn the lessons of Russia’s “strategic failure” in Ukraine, as he heads to Europe for a meeting of NATO leaders.
(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)
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On the Ground
Ukrainian troops are withdrawing from Sievierodonetsk, while Russian forces are trying to block nearby Lysychansk from the south, closing in on the last major holdout in the Luhansk region that Kyiv still controls, Ukraine’s General Staff said in a statement on Facebook. While Lysychansk remained the main hot spot of military action, Russian troops shelled Ukrainian positions and civilian areas elsewhere along the front line, including with air-to-land missiles.
(All times CET)
At Least 18 Killed in Missile Strike at Mall (5:46 a.m.)
At least 18 people were killed and 59 injured in the missile attack on the shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, according to the latest data from the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, posted on its Facebook account.
Zelenskiy said about 1,000 people were at the site, which was set ablaze in the strike. “The Russian state has become the largest terrorist organization in the world,” he said in his evening video address.
Australian PM Warns China to Learn from Putin’s Mistakes (3:48 a.m.)
In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, conducted en route to Spain for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit, Albanese said the Ukraine invasion had brought democratic nations together, “whether they be members of NATO, or non-members such as Australia.”
When asked what message the Chinese government should take from Russia’s invasion, particularly for its ambitions toward Taiwan, Albanese said the war “had shown attempts to impose change by force on a sovereign country meet resistance.”
Read more: Australian PM Warns China to Learn from Putin’s Mistakes
NATO to Label China ‘Systemic Challenge’ (2:26 a.m.)
NATO is set to label China a “systemic challenge” when it outlines its new policy guidelines this week, while also highlighting Beijing’s deepening partnership with Russia, according to people familiar with the matter.
The so-called Strategic Concept document will outline the alliance’s priorities for the coming decade and is due to be signed off by NATO leaders at a summit in Madrid this week. The previous version, published in 2010, made no mention of China and referred to Russia as a partner, wording that is set to be scrapped.
Read more: NATO to Label China ‘Systemic Challenge’ in Strategic Plan
Russia Slips Into Historic Default (11:56 p.m.)
Russia defaulted on its external sovereign bonds for the first time in a century, the culmination of ever-tougher Western sanctions that shut down payment routes to overseas creditors.
For months, Russia had found paths around the penalties imposed after the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. But at the end of the day on Sunday, the grace period on about $100 million of trapped interest payments due May 27 expired, a deadline considered an “Event of Default” if missed.
The last time Russia fell into direct default vis-a-vis its foreign creditors was more than a century ago, when the Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin repudiated the nation’s staggering Czarist-era debt load in 1918.
Read more: Russia Slips Into Historic Default as Sanctions Muddy Next Steps
Biden to Extend US Troop Presence in Poland, NBC Says (11:48 p.m.)
President Joe Biden plans to announce an extension of some increased US troop levels in Poland and changes to American deployments in several Baltic nations that he authorized ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NBC reported, citing two defense officials, two former administration officials and a European official.
The announcement is expected to come during the NATO summit later this week and could affect Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, it said.
G-7 Condemns ‘Abominable’ Mall Attack as War Crime (10:59 p.m.)
G-7 condemned the “abominable” missile attack on the Kremenchuk mall as a war crime. The sharp criticism came on the second day of the G-7 summit in the Bavarian alps where leaders also pledged to keep up their financial and military support for Ukraine as long as needed.
“Indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime,” the leaders said in a statement. “Russian President Putin and those responsible will be held to account.”
Death Toll in Shopping Mall Attack Climbs to 13 (9:31 p.m.)
Three more people have died in Russia’s missile attack on a shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, bringing the death toll to 13.
At least 21 people were taken to the hospital, six with serious injuries, regional Governor Dmytro Lunin said on Telegram. The missiles were launched from long-range bombers flying over Russia’s Kursk region, Ukrainian air force command said on Facebook.
Ukraine Now Says At Least 10 Died in Shopping Mall Attack (7:51 p.m.)
At least 10 people have been found dead and 40 injured after Russia’s missile attack on the shopping center in Kremenchuk, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said on Twitter.
Johnson Says Ukraine Attack Will ‘Strengthen Resolve’ of G-7 (6:25 p.m.)
Russia’s missile strike on the shopping center shows “once again the depths of cruelty and barbarism to which the Russian leader will sink,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement read out to reporters at the G-7 summit.
“Putin must realize that his behavior will do nothing but strengthen the resolve of the UK and every other G-7 country to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Johnson said.
Ukraine Says Casualties Rise in Eastern City Under Russian Shelling (6:15 p.m.)
At least four people were killed and 19 wounded after Russia’s troops shelled the large eastern city of Kharkiv overnight, according to the head of region’s government Oleh Synyehubov.
Ukraine had warned that Russians would intensify firing on the city, which they failed to capture in the early stage of invasion.
Shopping Mall Burns After Missile Strike (5:15 p.m.)
A shopping mall was on fire after a Russian missile strike in Kremenchuk, Zelenskiy said. “The shopping mall is on fire, rescue workers are trying to extinguish the fire, number of casualties hard to imagine,” he said on Telegram, adding that there were more than 1,000 civilians there at the time.
EU May Be Trying to Defuse Kaliningrad Standoff With Eased Rules (4:05 p.m.)
Some European countries are raising concerns that the European Union is trying to pressure Lithuania into watering down the bloc’s sanctions to allow some banned goods to transit through its territory to Russia’s Baltic exclave Kaliningrad, according to people familiar with the matter.
The issues comes as Lithuanian government institutions reporting a fresh wave of “intense” cyberattacks.
NATO to Boost Response Forces to Over 300,000 (1:45 p.m.)
The alliance will increase the size of its high-readiness forces to over 300,000 -- effectively a seven-fold increase -- as it seeks to deter any threats from Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters ahead of a summit in Madrid. He called it part of “the biggest overhaul of our collective deterrence and defense since the Cold War.”
Nine NATO allies now reach or exceed the alliance’s target of spending 2% of GDP on defense, while 19 have clear plans to reach it by 2024, he said. Five other allies have concrete commitments to meet it after the 2024 goal, he said.
By the end of this year, NATO allies will have invested “well over” $350 billion extra since the alliance agreed to its defense investment pledge in 2014.
Zelenskiy Wants Fighting Over by End of This Year (12:22 p.m.)
Zelenskiy addressed each of the G-7 leaders individually with a specific comment, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified by name.
He requested support on flight defense systems, security and financing for reconstruction, as well as help on unblocking exports of the country’s grain.
Putin to Leave Russia for First Time Since Ukraine Invasion (12:10 p.m.)
Putin will travel to Tajikistan on Tuesday and later visit Turkmenistan for a summit of Caspian Sea nations, his spokesman said, in the first foreign trip by the Russian leader since the invasion of Ukraine in February.
Ukraine Seeks to Boost Passage of Goods Via Danube Ports (11:19 a.m.)
Ukraine wants to increase the volume of goods passing through the three operational ports on the Danube River under its control to 1.5 million tons in June, Deputy Head of the Seaports Administration Dmytro Barinov said in a video briefing.
This would still be less than one-third of the prewar volume, he said. Further increases of throughput won’t be reached by merely improving logistics as new infrastructure will have to be built, he said.
Ukrainian ports on the Danube River were unprepared to handle the increased amount of cargo after Russia invaded, he said. About 70 foreign vessels still remain in Ukrainian ports blocked by Russia, some of them have crews on board.
EU Needs Alternatives to Russian Gas, Breton Says (11:01 a.m.)
The European Union needs to find alternatives to Russian natural gas as fast as possible because Putin is cutting supply, Thierry Breton, the region’s internal markets commissioner, said in a French radio interview.
Breton urged European utilities to prolong the lifespans of nuclear reactors, citing in particular French company Engie SA which operates plants in Belgium. Coal plants will also have to be revived along with a “massive acceleration” in rolling out renewable energy projects like offshore wind farms, he said.
G-7 to Explore Russian Oil-Price Cap (10:05 a.m.)
The G-7 is expected to reach an agreement for member states to develop and discuss ways to set a cap on the price of Russian oil, according to a senior Biden administration official. The group plans to direct relevant ministers to work with other governments and private-sector companies to come up with a mechanism that focuses on transportation of Russian oil to foreign markets.
Now it remains an idea, and the discussion will center around its viability. The discussion will happen over the coming days and weeks and there is no set date to establish a cap, the official said.
US Providing Anti-Air Defense System to Ukraine (8:03 a.m.)
Biden is set to announce the purchase of an advanced surface-to-air missile system for Ukraine.
NASAMS are an advanced medium to long range surface-to-air missile defense system. Ukraine is suffering from missile attacks and can only strike down a fraction of incoming missiles. The problem remains how quickly Kyiv can get them, how many will come and how long will it take to train people to use them.
It’s the same system the US uses to protect the airspace around the White House and US Capitol in Washington.
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