This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
U.S. President Joe Biden called a Russian missile attack on Kyiv ahead of the start of a Group of Seven (G7) summit “disgusting barbarism” as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy expressed gratitude for the assistance provided thus far, but said more is needed.
The missile attack hit at least two residential buildings in Kyiv, killing one person and injuring six others, including a 7-year-old girl and her mother, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
The strikes on June 26 — the first to target the Ukrainian capital in three weeks — also damaged a nearby kindergarten. Another missile strike hit the city of Cherkasy, southeast of Kyiv, that until now had not come under attack.
“It’s more of their barbarism,” Biden said, speaking alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other leaders attending the summit at Schloss Elmau in the German Alps.
Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said the Russians launched the missiles from warplanes over the Caspian Sea more than 1,500 kilometers away.
Russia dismissed reports that its missiles struck a residential area, saying the air strikes hit a weapons factory.
Biden, speaking earlier at the summit, emphasized Western unity.
“We have to stay together, because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has been counting on, from the beginning, that somehow NATO and the G7 would splinter, but we haven’t and we’re not going to,” Biden told Scholz during a bilateral meeting.
“We can’t let this aggression take the form it has and get away with it,” he added.
Other leaders echoed Biden’s praise of coalition unity.
The G7 leaders were set to announce the latest in a long series of international economic steps to pressure and isolate Russia over its war in Ukraine.
Even before the G7 summit got under way, U.S. and U.K. officials announced that member countries would be imposing a ban on purchases of Russian gold in another blow aimed at elite Russians’ wealth.
The missile strikes on Kyiv and on Cherkasy highlighted Ukrainian officials’ pleas for more assistance to beat back the 4-month-old Russian invasion.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba shared an image of a 7-year-old girl being rescued from the rubble of her Kyiv apartment building hours before and called for “more sanctions on Russia and more heavy arms for Ukraine” from the G7.
Zelenskiy said late on June 26 that he had a call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and he thanked him for the assistance and “comprehensive support” to counter Russian aggression.
He said on Twitter that he and Trudeau “coordinated positions on the eve of important international events” and “discussed further increase in defense support for Ukraine.”
The gathering of the leaders from the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan is the first of two key summits in the upcoming week amid growing global emergencies, with Putin’s war in Ukraine and related food and fuel crises high on the list.
After the G7 meeting, NATO leaders will gather for a summit in Madrid on June 28-30.
Zelenskiy is scheduled to speak virtually to the two summits and ask for more arms and air-defense systems.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the G7 and NATO “will continue to do collectively everything we can to make sure that the Ukrainians have what they need in their hands to repel the Russian aggression.’’
Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion are having “a profound impact,” he added in an interview with CNN at the G7 summit.
“Even as [Russia] gets oil revenues with higher prices, it’s unable to spend them because of the export controls,” he said. Russia “can’t acquire what it needs to modernize its defense sector, to modernize its technology, to modernize its energy exploration, which means that over time each of these areas is going to go in decline.”