Russian missiles hit kyiv as G7 leaders announce Russian gold ban

Russian missiles hit at least two residential buildings in the Ukrainian capital, as G7 leaders met in Europe to discuss new sanctions against Moscow.

Several explosions rocked kyiv’s central Shevchenkivskiy district early on Sunday, causing extensive damage and a fire in a residential building, the city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said on the Telegram messaging app.

“There are people under the rubble,” Klitschko said. He said several people have already been hospitalized and residents are being rescued and evacuated from two buildings.

At least five people were injured, Ukrainian police chief Ihor Klymenko told state television. There have been no major strikes in the capital since June 5.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said G7 countries must respond to new missile strikes against Ukraine on Sunday by imposing new sanctions on Russia and supplying more heavy weapons to kyiv.

G7 members confirmed a ban on Russian gold imports at the start of their three-day summit in the Bavarian Alps. The move by Britain, the United States, Japan and Canada is part of efforts to tighten sanctions against Moscow.

“The measures we announced today will strike a direct blow at the Russian oligarchs and strike at the very heart of Putin’s war machine,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.

“We must deprive the Putin regime of its funding. The UK and our allies are doing just that,” Johnson added.

The British government says Russian gold exports totaled 12.6 billion pounds ($15.45 billion) last year, and wealthy Russians are buying bullion to lessen the financial impact of Western sanctions .

A senior US administration official said the G7 would make an official announcement on the gold import ban on Tuesday.

“This is a key export, an essential source of income for Russia in terms of its ability to transact with the global financial system,” the US official said.

Besides banning gold imports, G7 leaders also had “really constructive” talks on a possible price cap on Russian oil imports, according to a German government source.

This comes as Western powers grapple with several crises, including soaring inflation and energy prices. The United States, along with its European allies, has sought to shift the blame to Russia. They imposed a series of financial and energy sanctions against the Kremlin.

The main economic powers of the G7 are France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. This year, Germany holds the rotating presidency of the group. The group – formerly known as the G8 – excluded Russia after the Crimean peninsula joined Russia in 2014.

This year, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has invited Senegal, Argentina, Indonesia, India and South Africa as partner countries at the summit.

Following the conclusion of the G7 summit, the leaders of NATO’s 30 members will meet for their annual summit, which is due to be held from Wednesday to Thursday in the Spanish capital of Madrid.

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