Russia-Ukraine live news: Zelenskyy calls Putin a ‘terrorist’

  • Turkey lifts its veto over Finland and Sweden’s bid to join NATO, after the three nations agreed to protect each other’s security.
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tells the United Nations Security Council that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is a “terrorist” and calls for Russia to be expelled from the UN.
  • Zelenskyy also urges the UN to do everything to stop the “killing spree” before Russia’s “terrorist activity” spreads to other European countries and Asia.
  • Russia’s deputy UN ambassador tells the UNSC there was no Russian attack on the shopping centre in Ukraine’s central city of Kremenchuk.
  • He claims that Moscow’s precision weapons struck hangars in the Kremenchuk road machinery plant, creating a fire that spread to the mall.
INTERACTIVE - WHO CONTROLS WHAT IN UKRAINE - June 28,2022
(Al Jazeera)

Here are the latest updates:

Russian envoy criticises UN for letting Zelenskyy speak remotely

Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN has criticised Albania’s presidency of the Security Council for allowing Zelenskyy to speak via video link and “at the last minute,” which the envoy said violated standard practice, Moscow’s state TASS news agency reports.

“We are seriously concerned over the stance of the Albanian presidency with regard to participation of President Zelenskyy of Ukraine in this meeting. There have been no consultations with all council members on this issue. The delegations were confronted with this fact at the last minute. This violates the existing practice and working methods of the Security Council,” Dmitry Polyansky told the council on Tuesday.

Representatives need to be physically present in the Security Council chamber, according to standard practice, Polyansky said.

“The Security Council should not turn into a platform where President Zelenskyy… can angle for more NATO weapons,” Polyansky added, according to TASS.


Russia working on Taliban ties, Putin says in Tajikistan

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is trying to build relations with the Taliban and wants to see all the ethnic groups in Afghanistan take part in running the country.

Putin’s statement Tuesday came in a meeting with President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan during the Russian leader’s first trip abroad since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict. Tajikistan, which hosts a Russian military base, has a long and porous border with Afghanistan and is wary that Islamic radicalism could seep into the country.

“We are doing everything so that the situation in that country normalises,” Putin said in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital. “We are attempting to build relations with the political forces that control the situation… We are working from the premise that all ethnic groups in Afghanistan, as was already said, must properly participate in running the country.”

Although Russia designates the Taliban as a terrorist group, the Taliban have representation in Russia and a delegation attended the recent St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Putin will be in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat on Wednesday for a summit of leaders of Caspian Sea littoral states.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmon pose for a photo during their meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon pose for a photo during their meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Tuesday, June 28, 2022 [Alexander Shcherbak, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]

Japan to extend extra $100m to Ukraine: PM

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, in Germany to attend the Group of Seven leaders summit, has said that Japan will extend an additional $100 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

He added that Japan would also provide support to expand Ukraine’s grain storage capacity as the harvest season nears.

Kishida travels to Madrid later on Tuesday, where he will become the first Japanese prime minister to take part in a NATO summit.


Canada pledges extra $118m for Ukraine humanitarian, security support

Canada will provide an extra 151.7 million Canadian dollars ($118m) to Ukraine for humanitarian, development and security support, according to a statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office.

Canada will also give Ukraine a loan of $200 million Canadian dollars ($155m) through the International Monetary Fund to help meet its urgent liquidity needs.

Trudeau also said that the 73 million Canadian dollars ($57m) in humanitarian assistance Canada pledged on April 9, 2022, has now been allocated to address the crisis in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.


Kremenchuk strike a ‘crime against humanity’: Prosecutor general

The missile attack on the Kremenchuk shopping centre is one of Russia’s “crimes against humanity,” Ukraine’s prosecutor general has said.

Iryna Venediktova emphasised the need for all Ukrainians to remain alert and expect a similar strike “every minute.”

A hospital nurse pushes a wheelchair carrying a woman wounded by the Russian rocket attack at a shopping centre in a city hospital in Kremenchuk
A nurse in a city hospital pushes a woman in a wheelchair wounded by the Russian rocket attack on a shopping centre in Kremenchuk, Poltava region, Ukraine, Tuesday, June 28, 2022 [Efrem Lukatsky/AP]

Bodies burned beyond recognition in Kremenchuk: Minister

As Russian missiles struck the Kremenchuk shopping centre, many people quickly fled the building and took shelter across the street, Ukraine’s interior minister has said.

Denis Monastyrsky also said several of the bodies of people who didn’t make it out in time were burned beyond recognition. In addition to the 18 killed and 59 wounded, 21 people are still missing.

Local resident Kateryna Romashyna told The Associated Press she had just arrived at the mall when an explosion knocked her down. When another blast came about ten minutes later, she realised she needed to get away.

“I ran away from the epicentre with all of my strength,” she said. Fighting back tears, she added: “You have to be a real monster” to strike a shopping mall.


Australia considering reopening Ukraine embassy

Australia is considering reopening its embassy in Kyiv, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said, as it looks to join several of its allies who have resumed operations after removing its diplomats over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We would like to have a presence on the ground there to assist and to be able to provide that on-ground presence,” Albanese told reporters in Madrid ahead of the NATO summit.

“Australia is considering that … I’ll have more to say on that in coming days and weeks.”

Albanese also condemned Russia’s strike on the Kremenchuk shopping centre saying it was a “civilian target” and “reinforces the atrocities being committed in this illegal war of aggression by Russia.”


Turkey lifts veto over Finland, Sweden NATO bid

Turkey has lifted its veto over Finland and Sweden’s bid to join the Western alliance after the three nations agreed to protect each other’s security, ending a weeks-long drama that tested allied unity against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the agreement addressed “Turkey’s concerns including around arms exports and the fight against terrorism.”

“Finland and Sweden commit to fully support Turkiye [Turkey] against threats to its national security. This includes further amending their domestic legislation, cracking down on PKK activities and entering into an agreement with Turkiye on extradition,” he said after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

The breakthrough came after four hours of talks just before a NATO summit began in Madrid, averting an embarrassing impasse at the gathering of 30 leaders that aims to show resolve against Russia. It means Helsinki and Stockholm can proceed with their application to join the nuclear-armed alliance.


UK defence spending projected to reach 2.3% of GDP this year

The United Kingdom’s defence spending is projected to reach 2.3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) this year due to increased military support for Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of that country, the government has said in a statement.

NATO has estimated the UK will spend 2.12 percent of GDP in 2022, down from an estimated 2.26 percent in 2021 but still above the 2 percent threshold the Atlantic alliance asks its members to meet.


Zelenskyy shares video footage of Kremenchuk hit

Zelenskyy has shared security camera footage of the moment the Kremenchuk shopping mall was hit by a Russian missile raid on Monday and said the attack was done deliberately.

“The Russian missile hit this very object, purposefully. Obviously, that was the order. It is obvious that Russian assassins received such coordinates for this missile,” Zelenskyy said in an evening video address on Tuesday.

Moscow says that it had struck a nearby arms depot and falsely claimed that the mall was empty. Zelenskyy’s nighttime address decried what he said were Russia’s lies.

“And I wish to say separately about the responsibility of those Russian propagandists who lie about this terror, who are trying to justify the actions of the Russian army. Each of you will also be punished. We have all the evidence of what the Russian troops are doing against our people,” he said.

A still image from security camera footage shows the explosion as a Russian missile strike hits a shopping mall at a location given as Kremenchuk, Ukraine.
A still image from security camera footage shows the explosion as a Russian missile attack hits a shopping mall at a location given as Kremenchuk, in Poltava region, Ukraine, June 28, 2022 [CCTV via Instagram @zelenskiy_official/Handout via Reuters]

Western countries turning Ukraine into ‘anti-Russia’: Moscow’s UN envoy

Ukraine is being turned into “anti-Russia” at the behest of some Western countries, Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN has told the UN Security Council.

Dmitry Polyansky said that by supplying weapons to Ukraine, Western nations were prolonging the time when Ukraine’s leaders “will sit down at the negotiating table with a realistic position rather than with slogans”.

“We began a special military operation in order to stop the shelling of Donbas by Ukraine and so that the territory of this country, which has been turned into anti-Russia at the behest of a number of Western countries, as well as its nationalist leadership, ceases to pose a threat to Russia or the inhabitants of the south and southeast of Ukraine,” he said.

“And until those goals are achieved, our operation will continue.”


No Russian strike on shopping centre: Moscow’s UN envoy

Russia’s deputy UN ambassador has told the UN Security Council that there was no Russian strike on the shopping centre in Ukraine’s central city of Kremenchuk, which officials say killed at least 18 people and wounded 59 others.

Dmitry Polyansky said Russian precision weapons struck hangars in the Kremenchuk road machinery plant with weapons and ammunition from the United States and Europe destined for Ukrainian troops in eastern Donbas. The shopping centre was some distance away but the detonation of ammunition “created a fire which then spread to the shopping centre,” he said.

Ukraine called the council meeting after Russia’s recent surge in attacks, including Monday’s air attack on the crowded shopping mall.

Zelenskyy told the council that “dozens are missing” and body fragments have been found, including hands and feet, adding that unfortunately there may be more victims.


Zelenskyy urges Russia’s expulsion from UN

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the United Nations to establish an international tribunal to investigate “the actions of Russian occupiers on Ukrainian soil” and to hold the country accountable.

“We need to act urgently to do everything to make Russia stop the killing spree,” Zelenskyy said in a virtual address to the UN Security Council. He warned that otherwise, Russia’s “terrorist activity” will spread to other European countries and Asia, singling out the Baltic states, Poland, Moldova and Kazakhstan.

“Putin has become a terrorist,” he said. “Daily terrorist acts, without weekends. Every day they are working as terrorists.”

Zelenskyy also urged Russia’s expulsion from the 193-member United Nations, citing Article 6 of the UN Charter which states that a member “which has persistently violated the principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the organisation by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.”

You can read all the updates from June 28 here.

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