Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 27)
As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:
A Russian missile hit a crowded shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk. The regional governor said at least 13 people were killed and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to sabotage people's normal life, targeting a site with over 1,000 people believed inside that posed no military threat. Monday also saw deadly attacks in other Ukrainian cities including Kharkiv and Lysychansk, Ukrainian authorities said. More than 50 Russian missiles hit cities across Ukraine over the weekend.
NATO aims to increase the strength of its rapid reaction force from 40,000 to 300,000 troops, the alliance's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. Stoltenberg called the change part of the "biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War." NATO allies will meet this week in Madrid and are also expected to approve additional aid to Ukraine.
Zelenskyy met via video with Group of Seven leaders at their summit in Germany, and urged them to approve more military help for his country. The G-7 leaders pledged in a statement to "continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes."
Russia appears to have defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time in over a century, after sanctions blocked the country's efforts to pay interest to its overseas creditors. Russian officials reject the designation as artificially forced by the West, because Russia has the money but the U.S. Treasury in May closed the last pathway for American investors to receive debt payments. In practical terms, little impact is expected immediately as Russia already faces many punishments that might befall an economy in default.
A Russian court set a July 1 start date for the trial of U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner, her lawyer told NPR. Russian authorities arrested the WNBA player for allegedly carrying cannabis vaping products in February, days before President Biden announced sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine. The U.S. government says Griner is wrongfully detained and it assigned a hostage affairs envoy to work to get her released. The Russian judge ordered Griner to remain in detention throughout the trial, according to her lawyer. She could face 10 years in prison if convicted.
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